1.5 million Baht raised to aide hilltribe communities
Students helped raise over 1.5 million baht to
help disadvantaged hilltribe students.
By Joy Huss
The Traidhos Visiting Schools Program (VSP) is an experiential activity
program sharing a scenic green campus on the outskirts of Chiang Mai with
Prem International School. While students at the school are studying hard in
their classes, just next-door students from schools all over the world are
experiencing new cultures, pushing comfort zones and creating lasting life
Somewhere between the adrenaline of white water rafting and the calming
influences of learning Thai culture, many VSP groups find time to enjoy some
physical community service work while donating valuable resources to remote
communities in the Northern Thai hillsides. VSP students have worked with
Red Karen, White Karen, Big Eared Karen, Lisu, Lahu, Akha, Hmong, DaraAng,
Palong, Shan and local northern Thai communities during their community
projects. Projects have supported elephant camps, reforestation projects,
orphanages and temples as well as many local schools.
In the last twelve months VSP have hosted 2252 students from forty-two
different schools from Asia, Africa, Australia, Middle East, America and
Europe. Almost 75% of these schools decided to include a community service
aspect to their trip. For some students they are gaining credits towards
their future education, while for others, community service has become a
focus of their trip for many months before they arrive in Thailand. Prior to
their departure for Thailand, students take part in fundraising events,
working to raise money to buy the materials that can serve the communities
whom they will visit.
Many of the communities that VSP work with are based in rural, hard-to-reach
villages where funding and external support is often slow to materialize due
to the additional transportation costs, inaccessible roads or low numbers of
low income hill-tribe families attending the schools. The work that is
completed through the community service programs often provide a lifeline
for these schools and give inspiration for students who may otherwise be
given no incentive to study. Meeting foreign students is not only exciting
for the Thai and hill-tribe students but also an eye-opening experience for
the visiting school students too, many of whom have rarely had an
opportunity to mix with smiley, enthusiastic young children who are living a
simple life in a far-off secluded little village.
VSP announced that thanks to this international desire to help others,
1,515,000 baht has been donated through thirty-seven different community
service group projects this year.
The students’ projects included school playgrounds built from used tyres,
schoolyard murals, renovating classrooms and community temples, building
toilets blocks and shower rooms, providing classroom desks and digging
drainage canals. They also dug tilled land for school gardens and fishponds
to help remote schools find sustainable solutions to provide healthy meals.
Student donations provided building materials, cupboards, water containers,
clothes, fans, games, classroom materials and much more to help create
safer, cleaner and enjoyable learning environments for the hill tribe
children they came to help.
If you have been inspired and are thinking that you too may be able to find
a group of students who could rise to the challenge and support a community
service project then contact Michael Cumes [email protected] or
Bronze International Award - new curriculum for PTIS Grade 9 students
Students took part in a two day trek from
Mae Taeng to Chiang Dao.
By Joy Huss
Beginning this 2012 school term, the Prem International School has
introduced the Bronze International Award (IA) program, also known as
the Duke of Edinburgh Award, as part of its curriculum to all its Grade
9 students. Certified IA Leader, Adam Peacock of the Visiting Schools
Program (VSP), leads the thirty-eight students through this exciting
self-development program with the assistance of Prem and VSP staff.
Pre-training courses are held on the Prem campus to introduce the
students to many outdoor essentials including activities on the low
ropes course, first aid, orienteering skills and raft building in
preparation for their practice and final two-day adventurous journey
trips. Students are expected to utilize the skills they learnt during
the training sessions, packing their gear, sleeping outdoors as well as
carrying their food supplies and cooking the groups’ dinner on their
The first trip was completed by class 9E along with Ajarn Emma and Ajarn
Steve, who met the VSP team at the school entrance on a beautiful, sunny
Saturday morning. After redistributing the first aid kits and maps, all
working on the skills learnt in the preparation days, the group set off
to the start of the two day trek from Mae Taeng to Chiang Dao just north
of Chiang Mai.
The first part of the trek wound around a stream and ended at the first
checkpoint at the bottom of a stunning waterfall for a quick stop and a
swim for those who wanted it. The straightforward instructions included
a simple phrase to “keep going up until you reach the next checkpoint” -
and it went up, and up, and up! After many stops and much huffing and
puffing all groups made it to checkpoint two only to realize the uphill
Throughout the day the group weaved up and down through the forest, hill
tribe villages, and farmland with a continuous panoramic view of the
mountains of the north. All groups arrived at camp before dark and began
to set up mosquito nets and mats for sleep in a village hut; followed
then by the serious business of cooking made much more the challenge by
a sudden change of weather - a rainy season rain storm.
After a good sleep, breakfast and a cleanup they once again set off
together for the second and final day of the hike. Due to the rain the
night before but everyone worked together to help one another slipping
and sliding through the muddy bits. Lunchtime was spent around a stream
relaxing and making observations of the natural environment around them,
including the discovery of an amazingly beautiful wandering spider which
crossed their path. After a short rest they set off with the promise of
an end in sight. Many uphill challenges later, the exhausted party
arrived at the end of the trek. Tired, hungry but rightfully very proud
of their accomplishment more than a few fell asleep on the way back to
The final adventurous journey will take place later in the school year
implementing lessons learned from the practice run and developing new
skills such as compass reading, setting up a campsite and sleeping in
Next term all grade 9 students will continue the International Award
training and complete the Adventurous journey element with a two day
canoe trip. In addition, to this element students are selecting Exploria
activities to cover the service, skill and physical recreation elements
of the award.
Chiangmai Mail Publishing Co. Ltd.
189/22 Moo 5, T. Sansai Noi, A. Sansai, Chiang Mai 50210
Tel. 053 852 557, Fax. 053 014 195
Editor: 087 184 8508
E-mail: [email protected]
Administration: [email protected]
Website & Newsletter Advertising: [email protected]
Copyright © 2004 Chiangmai Mail. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.