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 are thrilled to announce that thanks to this international desire to help others, THB 1,515,000 has been donated through thirty-seven different community service group projects this year. VSP staff would like to send their sincere thanks to all the schools who have been involved in community service projects and who have worked determinedly through rain and shine to complete such wonderful projects and create wonderful memories for everyone involved.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or http://vsp.threegeneration.org/