GIS IB 2 and Year 9 students visit Shanty Town in Ban Chang

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Creativity, Action, Service is at the core of our IB studies at Garden International School. As a way of engaging with our local community, the IB2 students decided to plan a day that would involve helping some underprivileged people in Ban Chang and be an educational experience for some younger students at school.

Before visiting the shanty town with the students we made sure that we sent a representative to speak to the people in the shanty town to ensure that they did not mind us coming. We also wanted to know exactly what we could do to help them rather than simply imposing ourselves. At first the people were a little cautious, but when they realised that we just wanted to help became more relaxed and animated about projects they thought we could become involved with.

Trisha in year 9 gives rice to smiling grandma.Trisha in year 9 gives rice to smiling grandma.

Our day started with us, the IB2 students who are the eldest students at the school visiting the local shanty town along with Year 9 students. We had spent the previous two weeks asking for and collecting donations of clothes, rice, milk, and daily necessities that we could bring with us. With the help of the people there we then showed the Year 9 students around the place to make them aware of the surroundings, where the bathrooms had no proper doors and stagnant water lay collecting mosquitoes.

Although it was a shanty town, the local people had used materials like old tyres to grow bright red flowers, which were admired by all. The people living there obviously took a great pride in their homes. We arranged to hand out the donations fairly to all the people in the town – making sure that we gave equal rice and milk to each family. We left the shanty town smiling for having a chance to help out and in turn bring smiles to the people who lived there.

People are grateful to receive donations of rice, milk, clothes and other daily necessities from the students.People are grateful to receive donations of rice, milk, clothes and other daily necessities from the students.

After we reached school the Year 9s were split into two groups and were asked to build their own shanty town house using materials which were provided from the Maintenance Department at GIS. This activity provided all the students with an opportunity to work together and communicate as a group in order to accomplish the given task as well as understand how difficult it must have been for the people they had just met to build their own houses.

Both groups did fantastically well using clever methods to ensure that the roofing was at an angle to allow water to roll off, and that supports for the walls were reinforced.

IB 2 and Year 9 students are happy to help out the underprivileged people in the community.IB 2 and Year 9 students are happy to help out the underprivileged people in the community.

After a short break the students were bought to the classroom to recall the limitations and success stories for building the shanty town house, as well as to reflect on their earlier visit to the shanty town. Then they were given a Decision Making Exercise in which they assumed the role of government advisor’s. We gave the students some monopoly money to spend and asked them to decide how they should spend it to improve their own shanty town. They had to decide what their priorities were for development in the first year and then again in the second year.

It was a pleasure working with them, and we learnt a great deal about ourselves and about our community on that day. We, and the Year 9 students have come away from this day more aware of our local community and the world around us. A world that we see every day, but that we will now see with our eyes more open.

(From left): Jun (Jang Hyeon Jun), TK (Yeon Tak Kwan), Haiko (Pansri Sakda), Ellen Neel (top), Brinda Balasubramanian and Anushree Guha enjoy staying under their own newly-built shanty house.(From left): Jun (Jang Hyeon Jun), TK (Yeon Tak Kwan), Haiko (Pansri Sakda), Ellen Neel (top), Brinda Balasubramanian and Anushree Guha enjoy staying under their own newly-built shanty house.