Happy holidays from DEPDC! Our newest project on GlobalGiving, the Half Day School for Migrant Children in Thailand, is off to a good start this term. All of the children (204) returned from the mid-semester break to begin classes in November. Thankfully, none of the children has been affected by the political turmoil in Burma, even those that commute to school from villages in Burma daily (DEPDC picks them up in the bus once they reach the Thai side). The school break can be a risky time for students, as they sometimes travel and do not have the stability of school.
Project activities are going according to plan. The children continue with their academic studies in the mornings and various vocational shops in the afternoons, including cooking, agriculture, music, traditional dance, and arts. The staff are helping the children learn about taking care of their environment, putting garbage into rubbish bins, and keeping the place clean, which is no small task for over 200 primary school students.
The weather is beginning to get colder, and this can be difficult for many poor families, especially those living in bamboo houses and without enough blankets, shoes, and clothes for the family. Some of the teachers have been visiting families on both sides of the border to see if DEPDC can help them prepare for the winter months.
The last month has also brought some special activities and holidays particular to Thailand. In late November, the Half Day School children celebrated Loi Kratong, an ancient holiday where Thais create small rafts from a section of banana tree trunk and decorate them with natural materials: flowers, leaves, incense, and candles. The rafts are released on a river or other body of water, symbolizing letting go past mistakes, grudges, and defilements. People will also cut their fingernails and hair and add them to the raft as a symbol of letting go of the bad parts of oneself. Many Thai believe that floating a krathong will create good luck, and they do it to honor and thank the Goddess of Water, Phra Mae Khongkha (Wikipedia).
The children also celebrated the 80th birthday of His Majesty the King of Thailand, which is also the national Father’s Day. The children participated in a contest to draw portraits of the King, which have been posted around the school.
During this season, consider giving to the Half Day School project on GlobalGiving as a gift — to a friend, a colleague, or anyone you would like to honor in this unique way. You can choose from several different designs and send a beautiful card (including project details) via email or post. When you find a project you'd like to give to, simply choose "Make this a Gift" when you're completing your donation! With your support, we can continue our work and you can spread the word about what we do and give some good for the holidays. Thank you again for your support. Every dollar help and goes a long way. Best wishes for a Happy New Year.
The children and staff of the Half Day School