By Eunice del Rosario
A GROUP of children have just returned to Bahrain after
helping in the construction of a school in a poor area of Thailand.
The finishing touches are added to the school.
The 28 pupils from St Christopher’s School, aged 10 to
18, raised money for the Ban Huaymuang School for hill tribe children in
Chang Rai, Northern Thailand, during the trip.
They even helped with its construction under the
supervision of three teachers.
The community service mission, which takes a group of
Bahrain students to Thailand to learn more about its geography and people,
is now set to continue.
“The students’ task over the eight days was to
familiarize themselves with the unique geography of the area while helping
needy children at the same time,” explained school geography head Steve
Martin, who accompanied the group.
“One of the main aims of the trip was to provide the
opportunity to garner first-hand knowledge of how people live in this part
of the Far East.”
Before leaving Bahrain on March 1, the students organized
a sponsored run and a bake sale to raise over BD850 to build a cafeteria at
the Ban Huaymuang School.
The cafeteria was later named the Thailand-Bahrain
“Although the priority was to aid the construction of the
school building, all students found the time to conduct their English
lessons or play sport with the Thai students,” said Mr Martin.
“Admittedly, at first both sides were quite shy, but by
the second day a football match and a whole school game of ‘heads,
shoulders, knees and toes’ had broken the ice.
Bahraini-British pupil Anisa Ghuloom, aged 18, said every
single day spent in Thailand was enjoyable.
“It was fun all the time and everyone was sad to leave,”
“It was my first time in Thailand and it was really
“The community project was so rewarding.
“Meeting the Thai children, who were aged four to about
14 - because for some of them their schooling had been disrupted - was one
of the best parts of the trip.”
One of the Bahrain students’ first tasks was to learn
some Thai and prepare English lessons for the local children at the Ban
However, while staying at the resort the group also
learned about the geography of the area - trekking through the Thai hillside
in particular provided a perfect opportunity for geography lessons.
Briton Diego Fenwick, aged 16, had been to Thailand
before, but said this trip was different and a lot more fun.
“We had to learn a bit of Thai because the children did
not speak that much English,” he said.
Memories remain for all the students who took part in the
community service mission.
“All of them could not help but be affected by the stark
contrast between the living standards in northern Thailand and their own,”
said Mr Martin.
“Ban Huaymuang School has especially poor families owing
to the fact that most of its students are from the Lahu hill tribes, which
travel to the school as boarders thanks to the support of a Korean
“Without the opportunity to board, many of these children
would not have the means nor would it be possible for them to get to school.
“The rooms, however, are basic with concrete floors and
mostly - the students were told - there were 15 children to a room sleeping
on plastic mats.”
St Christopher’s School plans to next year help refurbish
the dormitory and support the renovation of the medical room and library.
The school intends to maintain a link with the Ban
Huaymuang School to try to make a real difference to the quality of life of
the Lahu children, perhaps even supporting some students through university
in Chiang Mai.
Article reprinted courtesy of Gulf Daily News, Bahrain. Photos courtesy
of Steve Martin.
Earlier this month the auditorium at Chiang Mai
International School (CMIS) was transformed into a special meeting of the
United Nations Security Council, as students from CMIS, and Lanna
International School, represented UN delegates from around the world in an
intense depiction of the recent United Nations conference on human rights
issues in Burma.
Mr. Martin Foakes looks over Russian delegates.
The mini-conference was the first event in a planned
Model United Nations caucus to be held in Chiang Mai later in the year.
Students from CMIS, Lanna, Nakorn Payup International School, and Prem
Tinsulanonda International School have been working hard to research their
assigned countries’ positions on topics of global interest, such as the
problems of piracy on the high seas, climate change, and nuclear
proliferation. The students have also been fully involved in the planning
and setup of the event, from making individual country placards, to
publicity, and pizza ordering.
In Switzerland earlier this year, the United
States-sponsored resolution calling for immediate action by the Burmese
government to improve the human rights situation in that country failed to
pass; both Russia and China voted against the resolution. And in the Chiang
Mai conference, despite widespread support for the actions requested, the
resolution failed once again.
Representatives from the Free Burma Rangers introduced
the session with a presentation about their work, and the current situation
in Burma. A moderated caucus ensued, ably chaired by Alesha Dunlevy and Jung
Min Lee from CMIS. The Japanese delegation spoke convincingly about the
right of other nations to “keep internal affairs internal,” while Zimbabwe
seemed unwilling to accept that there was any kind of problem at all in
Burma. South American nations Brazil and Colombia furthered the political
wrangling with a series of probing questions, effectively challenging and
testing their “opponents.” It’s apparent that Chiang Mai is home to a
generation of budding politicians, who have already begun honing their
skills at the first ever Chiang Mai Model United Nations.
For further information about the Model United Nations in Chiang Mai,
please contact CMIS teacher, Mr. Martin Foakes at: [email protected]
Model UN Delegates address their peers.