Posted by WorkingAbroad Projects on Friday, 21st November 2014
It’s hard to believe that we are already approaching the tenth anniversary of the tsunami that devastated South East Asia in December 2004. Flooding and rain caused mass destruction and death, spurring a worldwide humanitarian response effort. Many people lost loved ones, and for children, this often meant their parents. The school in the southern district of Kapong was created shortly after the disaster as a boarding facility to ensure that the region’s orphans were not left without guidance and education. The school has since broadened its mission, serving not only abandoned children but also those who come from underprivileged families.
We are extremely lucky to have formed a continuing partnership with the school. During October, we had volunteers working at the Summer Camp, a program offered to students during the holiday between semesters. The camp puts a special emphasis on the English language, offering students to the chance to take elective courses (IT, Art, and Hospitality) that are taught in English. Language learning got a bit more “fun” than during a normal school week – students went on treasure hunts, put on plays (in English, of course) and went on outings to local landmarks.
Although children learn a lot about English and other cultures, they are also given many opportunities to connect to their heritage. During camp, one field trip was to the local Nah Rai Buddhist temple. A more solemn site visited was the Police Boat 813, a naval boat on patrol during the tsunami, which now serves as a memorial for those who lost their lives during the tragedy. Many of the students were young at the time of the event, but they are still affected, some by the loss of a family member.
Even during the semester, the students’ education is not limited to the classroom. Our volunteers help lead extracurricular activities like gardening, swimming, the marching band, and cooking. We often take skills like meal preparation or swimming or learning an instrument for granted, but many of the students had never had the chance to learn these before. Children also learn computer skills like e-mail, GoogleDocs or Powerpoint. Technological literacy opens the door for students to an increased number of job opportunities upon graduation. Thanks to exchange programs with the Hong Kong International School, Seoul Foreign school and to our international volunteers like you, the children are on their way to becoming citizens of the world!
If you have a special talent or interest, come and share it -- the children will love for you to teach them! If teaching isn’t your strength, there are still plenty of ways to lend your skills in the office or with the general day-to-day operations of the school. To find out more about volunteering in Thailand, please click here.
By Lauren Amrhein, WorkingAbroad Team
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