Friday, June 10, 2011

Projects, Projects, Projects

I am very excited to introduce the projects I am involved in here in Thailand. All projects are at DEPDC, an NGO that has quickly become my favorite place to work at!

PR Video Project: 
Taylee, Courtney, and I have been working tirelessly on a video project designed to increase international awareness about 1-human trafficking as a global issue, and 2-DEPDC and what they are doing to work against trafficking in the GMS (Greater Mekong Subregion). So far this video has involved a lot of planning, interviewing, editing, filming, and photographing. I have had so much fun working on this, and am excited to see the finished video. I will be posting the video sometime next week on both my blog and my facebook page, so make sure you check it out then! 

Education Projects:

Kindergarden class-
When we visited DEPDC, it was very apparent that they are short on funding, and as a result, were short on teachers as well. While meeting with staff, we were told they did not have anyone to teach their kindergarden or Level 1 classes, and were wondering if we would mind taking them over. We, of course, were happy to help, and told them we would love to! 

The rest is history! DEPDC assigned HELP volunteers as the primary teachers for their two kindergarden classes. We have taken over all classes, and teach 3 days a week. The kids are so excited to learn and we are excited to teach them. Are kids ages range from 5-14, and for every child in our class, this is the first encounter they have had with formal education. Almost all are ethnic minorities, hill tribe children, or refugees from Burma. Many don't speak Thai, and almost all did not know anything in English.

The kids have come so far since we started teaching them a few weeks ago. Almost all can now say the English alphabet and numbers, can say colors and certain animals in English, and are currently learning the days of the week. What I think is one of their biggest accomplishments, is when we used to class rolls (which was missing many of the children) to help them write their names in English. They loved decorating their name tags and knowing what their names looked like. During this process, we also realize many could not write anything in Thai, and as such could not write their name in the native language of their home country as well. 

This simple fact has become sadder as I have come to know the children, and to understand how much they want to learn. I am lucky and privileged to teach children who understand the value of education, and who know what it is to live without educational opportunities in their lives. 

One thing I want to stress about our kids is that most do not have Thai citizenship, and as such are excluded from their basic rights to a public education in Thailand. Some of these kids live in Burma, and cross the border every day to be able to go to school. We have such a diverse group of kids, and we love it! 

Creativity Class-
Our group is in charge of a weekly creativity class with the kids where we allow them to express themselves through art, music, dance, writing, etc. I am particularly excited for a photography project we will be doing with the kids very soon. Our idea is that we teach the class the basics of photography, and let the class practice with our own personal digital cameras. When we think the children are ready,  we will provide them each with a disposable camera so they can implement the skills and lessons that were learned in class. We will allow them to take these cameras home and take photos of their everyday lives. 

We hope that the images that come out of this project will open the international community's eyes to the issues surrounding stateless and impoverished children living on the Thai/Burma border.

Unfortunately, disposable cameras are very hard to come across in Thailand, and we are looking at options of having the cameras shipped into Thailand from overseas. Until then, we are waiting patiently to begin the project, which I think has the potential to greatly impact the lives of the DEPDC children.

Statelessness Project- 
I am also hoping to work on an issue involving the statelessness problem we have encountered here in Northern Thailand. Many of the people living here are without citizenship, which excludes them from their basic rights to healthcare, education, etc. Most of the stateless are born in Thailand, but because they lack birth certificates and official documents, they are considered "stateless" by the Thai government, and as such cannot travel, go to a hospital or public school, and are, more than any other group in Thailand, at risk of being trafficked and sold. 

As I have come to find out, almost all those in Thailand who have been trafficked are stateless, migrants, or refugees.

Right now we are looking into potential projects with an NGO named Plan. More on that later!

1 comment:

Anelieze + Franco Castrejon said...

what great projects, krystal! i know you are a great teacher. do you need help with the disposable camera project? maybe we can set up something with your friends and family to ship them to you.

you're doing such a great job!!