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NOVEMBER 2017: The American School in Japan

ASIJ students’ week-long service “like a dream” for local teacher

Many schools in northern Thailand struggle to get the funding for new building projects, which is why it is quite common for international organisations to come here and offer their support. But the more remote it is, the less likely a school is to be approached by one of these organisations.

Since community service is the main purpose of The American School in Japan’s visit to Chiang Mai, we had enough time to make a five-hour drive from the airport to little-known Nong Bua village. According to Poon, who joined the VSP team this year, it didn’t feel like a long journey at all because the scenery on the way was beautiful. Here she tells us more about the project:

The school that we went to do community service in is named Baan Nong Bua School. The road going to the school is quite narrow and steep. [In fact it makes its way up a large portion of Thailand’s third-highest mountain.] Nong Bua School has 72 students and 5 teachers and caters for Grade 1-6. The majority of the students are from different ethnic groups in Thailand; therefore, some of them do not know Thai when starting school. Also, due to the distance, they have a lack of teachers and opportunities.

There were three big projects to finish: building a store room, putting up the bricks for a wall, and cementing the pavement. The teacher in this school said that “this is like a dream to get a store room done.” We mixed a lot of cement to make the floor and wall. Through working hard on the project, students learnt cooperation and construction skills. It was amazing to watch the students enjoying and doing activities with the Nong Bua kids even though they couldn’t communicate in English; they still had fun laughing together.

On the last day, the students from ASIJ prepared some activities such as language class, bracelet making, rock painting, and donating clothes for kids. The donation station was like a mini market for the kids at Nong Bua School. It was enjoyable to watch the kids shopping and walking around with smiles on their faces.

The trip was a hardcore seven days of building and renovating the place yet filled with happiness and memorable experiences. One of the students said “This is the second time that I have come with the VSP trip and I will come back again next year. I feel happy to share and learn new things every time.”

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