October Tsunami School Camps
From left Baow, Karin, Marjo, Patrik and Mike
OMP volunteers, Mike Isenberg, Karin Hildingson, Patrick Lammers and Marjo de Brouwer recently finished helping at a special two week tsunami summer school camp. They spent two days learning more about teaching from Madeleine and Anders Trustrup, educators who run an English school and teach in Thai Muang. Then these OMP volunteers, with Thai university students, went to help village children improve their conversational English skills.
Participating OMP volunteers came from other areas in Thailand. Mike who had been teaching at a Temple School in the Isan area was asked by TT to go and help. Isenberg enjoyed his stay and learning the differences between the two regions of Thailand. Karin Hildingson not only taught but also provided sanook support and activities outside of the classroom at a local waterfall. Patrick Lammers and Marjo de Brouwer, before coming to the tsunami area, volunteered at the Muslim island school, Khlong Kom. Both Marjo and Patrick enjoyed their short stay in Thai Muang. They found the children and teachers to be fun and wonderful to work with at the school.
Baow, one of the local leaders in the Pang Nga province has done much for his people and is the organizational leader of this project. TT and Baow worked together to provide this opportunity for children to learn during vacation time. Last August he asked OMP for help to organize and run an October holiday camp for tsunami youth. Baow was interested in offering the opportunity to children who wanted to learn during their school vacation time. He believes being able to speak better English will help if and when the next natural disaster happens in Thailand. Baow also feels that with better English skills the more will work more efficiently with travelers and tourists.
About a year ago OMP met with teachers and directors of schools in the Pang Nga and Krabi provinces. We wanted to start supporting the poorer communities in southern Thailand by arranging for volunteers to go and help the children learn basic computer and English skills. We visited just before Christmas. When we came back on December 28, 2005 we found a totally different scene! Hundreds had died in the tsunami and the lives of Thais had changed for ever.
Since the tsunami, many of our volunteers have gone to help in these village schools and provinces. Conditions have been tough and we want to thank all those schools, teachers, local leaders, volunteers and other supporters who made the work useful and worthwhile. The living conditions were and are often simple and not acceptable for most Western tourists. OMP volunteers, who are adaptable, flexible and motivated have found the tsunami area very rewarding.
Much remains to be done in this southern area, for people still suffer. Many individuals and organizations have come to help tsunami survivors. Volunteers and the children all came out winners.
Much has been done, much has been given, more to some, less to
others! Some help has disappeared along the way! Some of the best help you can still give to the young tsunami victims is to help prepare them for a better life after the tsunami. Give them a chance to learn for life! International volunteers and modern information and communications technology can help!