It is a sunny day. About hundred kids in blue uniforms are standing in file. While the flag of Thailand is rising up in the air they are singing the national hymn - beginning of a school day in Pakkla School.
But today is not a normal school day: The teachers are wearing special skirts and hats, some of them are having flowers in their hair, some have put on a veil. For two days they look as if they came from Indonesia, Malaysia or other countries – the “Project of the Asian Union” takes place at Pakkla School.
And we are there as well: five Peace-Village-volunteers from France, Germany, South-Korea and Thailand. Why that?, are we wondering, we are no experts of Asian Union! But soon we learn that English is the communication language of the 10 unified countries. So it is important for every Thai student to learn this communication language. And our presence at the project is a good reason to speak a lot of English. In this way the pupils can learn facts about the Asian Union in Thai as well as in English.
The “Project of the Asian Union” took place on 15th and 16th of March in Pakkla School. The pupils of Pakkla School were divided in age-mixed groups and passed five workshops. Each workshop treated a different aspect of the Asian Union – food, currency, geography, language, flags – and was held by a team of one teacher and one volunteer. Beside the workshops all pupils came together in the hall to sing and play together, to present traditional dances or to repeat the things they have learned during the workshop. We volunteers did some little animation games as well.
During the repetition activities we can see that the pupils have improved their knowledge about the countries of the Asian Union: Many pupils are now able to name the 10 countries in Thai and in English, they know the capitals, currencies and other facts. And as the music teacher asks them to say hello in Laotian nearly everybody is shouting out “Sabai dee!”. It is visible that the pupils of Pakkla School started to get open minded to the Asian Unions countries.
Same can be said for us volunteers. By assisting to the workshops and talking with the teachers we learned new facts about the Asian Union and reflected its development. Besides, we volunteers got an impression of school life in Thailand. And not at least we had some small teaching and animation experiences. Finally we five volunteers could contribute to the project without being experts of the Asian Union. And the project contributed a lot to our knowledge and skills – a win-win-situation.
Tina, 27 German