Round Square delegates introduced to Thai culture

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‘We Build Together’.

The Regents International School recently hosted the annual Round Square Conference 2010, welcoming eight hundred delegates from seventy eight independent schools in twenty two countries. The delegates consisted of students, teachers, principals and school governors, and the theme of this year’s conference was ‘We Walk Together’.

The conference organisers believe in this phrase because it represents equality; we walk together as strangers, we walk together as human beings and we walk together with our local communities.

Putting their trust in their guide.

With this in mind the delegates were expected to leave the comfort of the conference for two days and go into the local communities of Pattaya to experience an environment that is not the norm for many.

Pattaya’s largest children’s charity, the Father Ray Foundation, was involved in many aspects of the conference. On the day most delegates arrived in Pattaya the residents from the Father Ray Children’s Home held two workshops to introduce the delegates to the culture of Thailand.

Traditional Thai dancing classes proved to be very popular, and after watching the local girls perform several beautiful dance routines the delegates were invited to participate.

More popular was the Muay Thai classes, where well over two hundred delegates, young and old, arrived to practice a few kicks and punches.

On the two service days more than one hundred and fifty delegates travelled to the Father Ray Children’s Village to paint murals on the perimeter walls. The theme of the murals was the theme of the conference – We Walk Together. Each section of the wall was decorated with a mural which had been designed by the residents from the Father Ray Children’s Home, and these budding artists worked alongside the conference delegates to paint the walls. Each painting showed a different type of togetherness, and the delegates and local residents worked together to finish their task.

King Constantine & Queen Ann-Marie visit the Father Ray Day Care Center.

The students from the Regents School have been involved with the Father Ray Children’s Village for more than a year, providing activities for the children, preparing the walls and cutting back the grass and clearing the land, and they will continue to visit and work together with the children of the Village to improve their life and living environment.

Delegates also visited the Father Ray Day Care Center, meeting and organising activities with the young toddlers who travel in each day from the poorer slums of Pattaya. The toddlers were very excited to welcome the founder of the Round Square organization, HM King Constantine II, his Danish born wife Queen Ann-Marie and their daughter HRH Princess Theodora.

October is the month of the school holidays, but visits to the Pattaya School for the Blind and the Redemptorists were made and the delegates were asked to think about how they would cope living with a disability. With this in mind several were asked to sit in a wheelchair and follow a route to the nearby Family Mart, others had their legs tied together, handed a pair of crutches and asked to visit the local 7-11; not an easy task when there is no ramp and tall steps; not very convenient considering the store is directly opposite a school for people with disabilities.

Whilst the visitors were wheeling themselves around or hobbling along on crutches another group took turns being blindfolded and placing their trust in their friend who guided them and kept them safe; they walked together, they helped together and they learned together and they trusted together.

The delegates have left Pattaya and returned to their home countries, but they will hopefully take their experiences of our city home with them and use their knowledge to raise awareness of the many charitable organisations working for the underprivileged of Pattaya.

More information about the Father Ray Foundation can be found at www.fr-ray.org or email [email protected]

Many found the streets of Pattaya frightening.

Thankfully the local Family Mart is wheelchair friendly.

‘We Help Together’.

The residents of the Children’s Village were eager to help.

The Muay Thai workshop was very popular.