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Sanook, Sangria, Salsa, Samba and Sardines

British Council presents scholarships to Chiang Mai University students

Street children are not for sale

Sanook, Sangria, Salsa, Samba and Sardines

Arctica was the first venue for new theme party

Well-known local artist Doris Kraushaar has teamed up with well-known local party person Deborah Thompson van Dijk, to loosely organize theme parties of a different kind.

Follow me! Cha, Cha, Cha! Dance teacher Peerapong Pongpaiboon had his hands full during the Salsa crash course.

The first theme was “A Latin flavored dance and food party”, with not only original Spanish Sangria, but also a variety of home-made Spanish food, including paella.

Arctica’s resident DJs were busy at their mixers, and guaranteed that the Latin music went straight into the veins of the guests. In combination with the Sangria, everyone let their hair down on the dance floor. For the more inexperienced (the majority), local trainer Peerapong Pongpaiboon was present to give a crash course in Salsa. Others, not so keen on hurting the partner’s feet, could have a chat with a Tarot reader, or bid for items at the silent auction.

Deborah and Doris (background) admire ML Preeyapun’s steps. Now that’s a true professional.

Although these parties are planned to be fun events, Deb and Doris are including a charitable side to it. Deb explained that they intend to give back to their community, especially to children. “For each event, all remaining funds after expenses will be given to organizations that cater to the creative education of children in Chiang Mai and its provinces,” she said.

The first recipient will be ML Preeyapun’s Chiang Mai Ballet Academy. To allow them to perform a more varied program, the money will be used for related costumes, backdrops, and training.

The next event is already in its planning stage, and you can look forward to a Rodeo night, with real horses and real cowboys. Yeeeh-Hahhhh!

British Council presents scholarships to Chiang Mai University students

Preeyanoot Jittawong

The British Council presented scholarships to three students from Chiang Mai University for a field trip to the UK under Dare to be Digital and Young Thai Science Ambassador Award 2005 projects.

Jon Glendinning, director of Chiang Mai British Council presented scholarships to the students.

Jon Glendinning, director of Chiang Mai British Council, presented the scholarships to the students on June 2. The Dare to be Digital project was won by Pitipong Kantawong, Faculty of Engineering, CMU. He would join the UK team at a model games competition in Dundee, Scotland, for a period of ten weeks. The first runner-up was Wittawat Roongjira-na-non, student of the CMU Faculty of Engineering. He will enjoy a trip to an education institute in Edinburgh, Scotland for two weeks, to learn about the computer games industry. The Young Thai Science Ambassador Award 2005 winner was Nirawat Thamajak, CMU Faculty of Science. He would be Thailand’s representative to join the London International Youth Science Forum 2005.

The British Council is an international organization with 110 branches worldwide promoting UK related education and culture and supporting creative ideas, offering education opportunities and developing community ties. The Young Thai Science Ambassador Award is held every year.

Street children are not for sale

Cory Croymans-Plaghki

Thai society and environment have changed from a close agricultural society to a more materialistic society. This has forced people to speed up their lives. Children are affected by this change in society which can disrupt their lives immensely. Street children even more so.

This globe depicts the rather sad statistical facts of street children in Asia and all over the world (marked on separate papers attached to the specific countries). You will find it at Chiangmai University’s Art Museum where the exhibition “HeArt of the Street” is being held.

Street children face a life of uncertainty, every day, as they struggle to earn a living for themselves and for their family. A substantial number of these children are trafficked within national and international borders by their relatives or by crime syndicates, to be exploited in the commercial sex trade or in other economically oppressed situations.

Those street children who sell flowers around sex entertainment areas in Chiangmai are especially vulnerable to sexual exploitation as they are frequently approached by men in search of sexual favors. They are also vulnerable to forced prostitution, forced labor, HIV/AIDS, sexual diseases, drugs and alcohol. Situations are even more complicated and volatile for those children who do not speak Thai since the local authorities treat them as illegal immigrants as they do not have the necessary documents.

The cruel fact is that many of these children are unable to change their lives because as children, they lack the knowledge that is only gained through experience and opportunity. Sadly, for too many children the constant exposure to abuse and neglect creates traumatic experiences. They are the ones who have to silently bear the brunt of our global society’s perversions, prejudices and intolerance, indifference and lack of human compassion.

Here are some shocking statistical updates on the situation in our region. The United Nation’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF) which works for children’s rights, their survival, development and protection, reported in 2004 that three million children from Africa, Asia, Central Europe and Latin America are victims of sex tourists from rich countries such as America, Europe, Japan and Australia.

Of the 600-800,000 people believed to be trafficked across the borders every year, 250,000 victims, mostly women and children, are trafficked in S.E. Asia.

According to the Center for Protection of children, there were two million women and children involved in sex work in Thailand with close to 200,000 foreign child workers. There are 27,500 to 35,000 under-aged children engaged in the sex-trade during the course of one year (2002 statistics) and 55 percent of female sex workers in Thailand begin work before the age of 18. A surprising 70 percent, or 136,000 foreign child workers are boys, mainly from Myanmar, Lao PDR and Cambodia, every day exposed to very hazardous working conditions on construction sites or small shop factories.

An estimated 80,000 women and children from Myanmar (Burma) are active in sex work in Northern Thailand and this number is likely to grow. In Cambodia, close to Phnom Penh, the average age for entering into the commercial sex trade is 12.9 years for girls (2002 report).

What can we do? Please visit the HeArt exhibition currently showing at the Chiang Mai University’s Art Museum on Nimmanhaemin Road and make a donation to support the Volunteer Group for Children’s Development (VGCD) art program. VGCD is a non-governmental organization working to improve the lives of street children in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai through information, counseling, life skills training and emergency assistance. For more information, please contact, VGCD, 63/1 Changmoi Kao Road, Tambon Changmoi, Chiangmai 50300; mobile: 071740919, email: jan [email protected]