On a ridge, behind a wall of rainforest vegetation that blocks a magnificent view of the sea at Rajaprachanukroh School 35, students march through a maze of new buildings, to get to their classroom. The buildings are in various stages of construction. En route, a group of these students stop to greet the International School Bangkok representatives touring the new campus of Rajaprachanukroh School 35. With glowing smiles, they clasped their hands together in a traditional Thai greeting and said, “How are you? I am fine, thank you very much.” The English greeting was well practiced. Eager to be on their way, the students ran through the construction area to meet their teacher in a temporary classroom at the far end of campus.
Rajaprachanukroh School 35 is a busy, happy place. Thai military and local workers have been building around the clock with the goal of completing the dormitories as soon as possible. Three of the four dormitories are almost complete. The fourth will be finished by November 2nd when 480 children plan to move in. Students will sleep on the 2 the children pledge to be honorable, moral and knowledgeable.
To celebrate the new campus and the transition to a happier life, a ceremony to dedicate the new school is tentatively planned for the King’s Birthday on December 5th. There is much to celebrate. The most recent data indicates that 662 children are enrolled, but only 330 are currently able to attend. Most children are studying via television satellite from the Rachaprachanukroh (King’s) Foundation. The principal, Ajarn Prasit Sathaphonchaturawit , visits these children at their interim schools. He is looking forward to the day when all of his students can be together at the new campus. All 662 students will be able to study at Rajaprachanukroh School 35 in November when the dormitories are open.
What’s next? Khun Prasit provided a preliminary list of materials and equipment for the campus. The items listed (for example beds, wheel chairs and equipment for the nurse’s station, playground toys and equipment, furniture for the kindergarten, microscopes and other science equipment) are beyond the traditional learning materials such as paper and pencils as well as beds for the dormitories furnished by the Thai government. A committee representing the ISB Tsunami Relief Network will begin meetings on September 26th to identify and prioritize projects and needs such as those mentioned above.
The committee will also concentrate on ways to improve the psychological well being of the students.
It is in fact not just the materials and buildings that are important. Although the faces of the children are happier than they have been since December 26th, they still suffer the trauma of the tsunami disaster.
A psychologist provided by the Department of Mental Health Recovery Center visit the School once a week.
However, more psychological support may be needed.
The ISB Network continues to collect funds to support Rajaprachanukroh School 35. Please continue to visit our website for the latest progress, including new photos.
September 22nd, 2005's photos