Monday, June 15, 2015 | posted by Alison Cohen |
Global Playground is thrilled to announce the opening of our newest school! It is located in the village of Paw Myar in Nyaungshwe Township, Taunggyi District, Shan State, Myanmar. Twenty-six children will attend the school today, and in the future the school will accommodate forty students.
"Global Playground is thrilled for the children of Paw Myar," said Doug Bunch, Global Playground's Chairman. "Today they attended classes in the first permanent school ever to be built in the village. Mere months ago, they were going to school in a bamboo hut. We're proud to have been part of making their dream a reality." Global Playground partnered with the Global Community Service Foundation to build this project.
Public funding for education in Myanmar has decreased since its independence. A 2001 UNESCO study found that Myanmar spent just 1.3% of its GDP on education, ranking 164th out of 168 countries in the study. While Myanmar mandates five years of compulsory primary school for children ages 5-9, the country's enrollment rate at the primary level is around 85%. Only 75% of students who begin grade 1 will complete the last level of primary school, grade 5.
We’d like to think all of our supporters in this incredible endeavor. Stay updated on the progress of the school by signing up for our mailing list,
liking us on Facebook,
or following us on Twitter.
Wednesday, May 06, 2015 | posted by Katherine Ambrose |
Global Playground could not be happier to announce the selection of its two newest Teaching Fellows! Both graduate from the College of William & Mary this year, and will be invaluable assets to the Global Playground team.
Amanda Cordray, William & Mary '15
has been selected to serve as Global Playground's 2015-16 Thailand Fellow. Amanda will live and teach at a high school in Mae La Noi, Thailand, in the Northern province of Mae Hong Son, and will also volunteer at a school in nearby Huay Puung Mai, Thailand. Her responsibilities will include teaching English, building Global Playground's relationship with the school community, and connecting students at the school with children at Global Playground's other project sites around the world.
Kendall Lorenzen, William & Mary '15
has been selected to serve as Global Playground's 2015-17 Global Fellow. For two years, Kendall will travel to and live at Global Playground's project sites around the world, in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Burma, the Philippines, Honduras, and Uganda. Kendall will connect children at Global Playground's project sites with each other and facilitate cross-cultural dialogue among them. She will also assist with Global Playground's fundraising, marketing, and recruiting efforts; assist with donor outreach; research potential new projects; further develop Global Playground's relationships with its partner organizations; further develop the Teaching Fellows program; further develop Global Playground's vision and mission; and report regularly to Global Playground's Board about her work.
Global Playground congratulates its new Fellows!
Saturday, March 14, 2015 | posted by Katherine Ambrose |
Global Playground is excited to share new photos of our school in the village of Paw Myar, Myanmar! As you can see below, the village has made significant progress on the foundations and walls of the building. Check back soon for more updates on this project, and see our website for more information on the village of Paw Myar. We can't wait to get these kids into the classroom and realizing their full potential!
Tuesday, March 03, 2015 | posted by Doug Bunch |
Global Playground is proud to announce that it will build three new classrooms for students at Mangoso Elementary School in Mangoso, Sigma, Capiz, Philippines.
Mangoso Elementary School currently serves a population of 378 students and 15 teachers. In November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan damaged all of the classrooms at the school, six of which were completely destroyed. Global Playground will rebuild three of these classrooms for students in third and fourth grades. Additionally, a water catchment will be affixed to the roof of the new classrooms to capture fresh drinking water for the community.
“Global Playground is excited to invest in Mangoso Elementary School and in the future of its students,” said Doug Bunch, Chairman of Global Playground. “These new classrooms respond to an urgent need at the school.”
The village of Mangoso is known for its expansive farming plains and rice crops. There are 2,125 residents, most of whom are rice farmers, earning $2-3 per day for their efforts. On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan occupied Capiz for over five hours, devastating the province, destroying homes, buildings, and schools, and affecting hundreds of thousands of residents of the province, including those in the village of Mangoso.
Global Playground will partner with Advancement for Rural Kids
(ARK) to build the new classrooms. ARK works in rural communities in the Philippines to feed kids, get them back to school, and create new income for their families. Among other projects, ARK has piloted a school feeding program to address malnutrition in rural communities.
Visit Global Playground’s website
to make a contribution or learn more about its work.
Monday, December 15, 2014 | posted by Doug Bunch |
Global Playground today announced that it will fund the construction of a primary school in the village of Paw Myar in Nyaungshwe Township, Taunggyi District, Shan State, Myanmar (formerly Burma). The school will immediately serve 26 children at ages ranging from preschool to fourth grade, but can accommodate up to 40 children. Currently children in Paw Myar attend school in a bamboo hut. The new school, which will cost $21,300 to build, will include a well, two outbuildings, and a solar energy system. It will be built this coming spring and will be ready for the new school year which begins in June 2015. Global Playground will work with Global Community Service Foundation
, its partner in Vietnam, to build the school.
“Global Playground is thrilled to bring a new school to the children of Paw Myar,” said Doug Bunch, Chairman of Global Playground. “Burma now joins Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam on Global Playground’s list of project sites. For less than the cost of a new car in the United States, we will increase educational opportunities for kids in Burma and connect them to their peers across the world.”
Global Playground has also just announced its new Global Fellowship
, which will supply two years of funding for a recent college graduate to teach and work with the communities at Global Playground’s project sites worldwide, including the new site in Myanmar.
To make a contribution to Global Playground, visit its website
Wednesday, August 07, 2013 | posted by Ellie Kaufman |
Playground inaugurated its fifth project, Pa Nho Primary School near Khe Sanh in Central Vietnam on August 7.
Several Global Playground Board members and volunteers were onsite to celebrate
the inauguration. Global Playground worked with the Global Community Service
Foundation to construct the school.
“It is exhilarating to know that here, in a
place still littered with Agent Orange and landmines, we have given some of the
poorest children in Vietnam an opportunity to learn, and connected them with
their peers across the globe,” said Doug Bunch, Chairman of Global Playground.
Global Playground’s new
primary school in Khe Sanh will serve over 125 students in the town and
surrounding villages when classes begin in September. The building hosts four
classrooms, a toilet, and 72 desks and chairs.
students, families and teachers very much appreciate Global Playground’s
funding of the new primary school building. The teachers are committed to
further the education of these children, and live up to the promise of the new
school,” the school principal said.
Although Vietnam as a whole boasts literacy
rates above 90%, the ethnic minorities in more isolated mountain areas suffer
from widespread illiteracy.
The lack of access to schools and quality
education tempt many parents to keep their children at home to help provide
income. These circumstances exacerbate the achievement gap and poverty rates,
with many families living on just $15 a month.
Despite these challenges, the community’s
commitment to education is undeterred. Although Global Playground and its
generous supporters provided over $45,000 to build the school, the local
community contributed land and materials to the project.
“The local community’s commitment to the school
underscores the value they place on education and the hope they have for the
future of their children,” said Edward Branagan, Global Playground’s Executive
Khe Sanh is still recovering from the
devastation and destruction that occurred there during the Vietnam War. The town was the site of an American
base and a major, well-known battle. Unexploded landmines continue to put many
villagers and children at risk. Annual floods in the town have also contributed
to the destruction of homes and the closure of a prior school building. Global
Playground recognized and responded to these challenges by building the primary
school on higher ground that had been cleared of landmines.
hopes that the new primary school will provide educational opportunities that
will reverse the local cycle of poverty, provide safe places to learn and play,
and add to Global Playground’s worldwide network of schools where onsite
Teaching Fellows will continue to facilitate global cross-cultural dialogue.
This article was written by Pat Austria, Director of Communications.
Friday, July 19, 2013 | posted by Ellie Kaufman |
The newly elected Global Playground Board of Directors met
on July 13. Joseph Jay, Ryann Tanap, Jason Maga, and Emmy Levens, join
returning Chairman Doug Bunch and Vice Chairman and Executive Director Edward
Branagan to serve on the Board for the upcoming year.
Board, elected in June, brings together a variety of backgrounds inside and
outside of Global Playground. Joseph Jay attended the College of William and
Mary as an undergraduate and a law student. He currently works as a lawyer for
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP in Washington D.C.
knew about GP from the time it was founded and have followed it through its
first seven years,” Jay said. “I want to continue supporting the founders’
vision for education in remote areas around the world.”
Maga works for Amtrak handling contract negotiations and operational
improvement issues with the companies who own the tracks. Maga has supported GP
for a number of years, and met his wife at a GP fundraiser in Washington D.C.
Maga hopes his past nonprofit board experience will assist him in this role.
was previously on the board of another organization that has since grown to
over $10 million in annual revenue and provides life-changing services to over
half a million impoverished people in Africa,” Maga said. “My contribution was only a tiny part of the growth, but I hope to bring to
GP a bit of what I learned there and use that to help GP develop and implement
its own growth plan.”
resonates with Global Playground’s ability to tie two distinctive goals into
Playground offers a unique opportunity to, at the same time, support basic
education and a broader cultural awareness by focusing on the synergy between
these two objectives,” Maga said.
Thailand Teaching Fellow Ryann Tanap will return to the United States at the
end of July and serve on the Board for the upcoming year. She brings a hands-on
volunteer perspective to the group after finishing her year of teaching.
have more of an understanding of what fellows may face on a daily basis,” Tanap
said. “I want to provide support for incoming teaching fellows, as they are the
only full-time volunteers of Global Playground.”
believes her new role on the Board connects with her every day goal to teach
her students English through a cross-cultural lens.
the end of the day, it’s really all about the kids,” Tanap said. “I believe
that GP’s work, especially with the fellows, allows for a unique learning
experience. GP has been able to promote cross-cultural dialogue, and I really
want to help facilitate these interactions.”
Friday, May 17, 2013 | posted by Ellie Kaufman |
Maddy Smith, a 2013 graduate of the College of William &
Mary, will serve as Global Playground’s Thailand Teaching Fellow beginning in
“I feel like now is the time in my life
to give back as much as I can. I saw it as a great opportunity to give back to
the organization that I have followed for so many years in a tangible way,”
first learned about the organization as a freshman in her Leadership and
Community Engagement class.
[Bunch, Chairman of Global Playground] came to lecture in my class when I was a
freshman. It was one of the first exposures that I had to meet the founder of
an organization like that, and I was just captivated by him and the
organization,” Smith said. “I have stayed in touch with him over the past few
years and attended fundraisers.”
an International Relations major, believes her experience tutoring kids during
her time as an undergrad and her past summer working as a program director for
a summer camp will assist her in this new position.
spent the past summer working with Christ church summer camps. Halfway through
the summer I was promoted to be program director for the counselor in training
program, designing and implementing curriculum,” Smith said. “In order to gain
respect from the students you have to give them respect.”
this experience, Smith developed a philosophy to her teaching style that she
hopes to use in her Thai classroom.
saw myself not so much as an authoritative figure, as much as a learning tandem
relationship,” Smith said. “When I was able to convey that to them it worked so
Smith, Global Playground’s small, supportive network stood out to her during
her job search.
the whole process, it just became really clear to me that this was the place I
wanted to be,” Smith said. “I just realized that this is a group of people that
I want to be associated with.”
believes the cross-cultural exchange element of the organization sets Global
Playground apart from other teaching abroad opportunities.
me, the big difference between the average teaching English abroad and Global
Playground is the fact that this is a cross-cultural exchange. I think that is
something that is incredibly valuable,” Smith said.
will go to Bangkok in early August to take a three-week intensive Thai
immersion course. After that, she will go to Mae La Noi to join current
Thailand Teaching Fellow Ryann Tanap in the village where she will be teaching
and living for the upcoming year.
way the program is set up, we overlap by two or three weeks, so I will be able
to observe her in the classroom so that by the time I step into the classroom I
will have a solid grasp on what I’m doing,” Smith said.
will also participate in a training weekend here in the U.S. before leaving for
Thailand with the new Honduras Teaching Fellow Alex Clark-Youngblood. Smith is
looking forward to the upcoming opportunity.
is the time in my life when I want to be putting myself out of my comfort zone
so I can learn more about my life and my abilities, but also give back to
different cultures at the same time,” Smith said.
Friday, March 08, 2013 | posted by Ellie Kaufman |
When Global Playground Board Member Becca Rollo read “The
Lion and the Son-in-Law” – crafted by Teaching Fellow Ryann Tanap’s students in
Mae La Noi, Thailand, to her fifth grade class in Freehold Township, New Jersey, her
students noticed how similar it was to the American fable “The Lion and the
Rollo shared the fables crafted by Tanap’s students as a lesson in cross-cultural
dialogue lesson, discussing the Thai fables in comparison to American fables.
|Students in Rollo's fifth grade class read both fables.|
discussed the oral tradition of storytelling and how that is key to how both
folktales and fables exist in the world today. I also told them that,
fascinatingly enough, there are similar fables and folktales that occur
throughout the world,” Rollo said. “I explained that today I would be sharing
with them a Thai student’s rendition of a fable with similar characters. There
was a definite twist in the Thai version.”
Rollo was able to access Tanap’s fables
virtually and share them with her class.
kids were floored by the artwork. They also quickly wanted to jump in and
correct the grammatical mistakes. This opened the door for a very meaningful
conversation about what it is like to do something like this in another
language,” Rollo said.
students are currently learning Spanish, but they are not at the level where
they can read or write in Spanish independently.
see things from their own points of view, and it takes coaxing for them to see
something from a different point of view. If they were the ones assigned this
task, they would have been overwhelmed by the difficulty and here they were
instantly quick to criticize,” Rollo said. “The broadening of their
understanding and the development of that humility when entering into
cross-cultural dialogue like this takes time to foster and is well worth the
time it takes to develop.”
taught the fable lesson to her twelfth grade English 204: English for Speaking
and Listening course at Mae La Noi Daroonsik School. She taught her students
the different parts of a fable, explained vocabulary in the fables before
reading them aloud, read them aloud to the class and then asked comprehension
her students understood the structure of a fable and listened to the American
version, they were able to select their own fables from Thai, hill tribe or
religious origins to turn them into storybooks.
Global Playground is dedicated to cross-cultural dialogue, I knew that a fable
assignment that incorporated the student’s knowledge of storytelling would
really be something worth exploring,” Tanap said. “I loved having the students
practice reading the fables aloud as well as coming up with the content for
Rollo hopes to continue to communicate with Tanap’s students in Thailand. Thai
students are on summer break from mid-March to mid-May, but Rollo plans to send
a response to Tanap’s students in May when they are back in session.
will be working to record something to send to her in the meantime to further
this literacy connection,” Rollo said. “We will spend the coming months using
stockpiled videos on [Global Playground’s] YouTube channel to foster other
cross-cultural dialogue projects that wouldn’t occur in real-time, but would
allow us to prepare responses to send by the time students are back in school
in Thailand in mid-May.”
Monday, February 25, 2013 | posted by Ellie Kaufman |
Global Playground’s former Intern Taylor Nelson received the
College of William & Mary’s 2013 James Monroe Prize for Civic Leadership.
Nelson was honored during the College’s Charter Day ceremonies on Feb. 8.
award is granted to a student “who has demonstrated sustained leadership of an
unusual quality, leadership combined with initiative, character, and an
unfailing commitment to leverage the assets of the College community to address
the needs of our society.”
will graduate from the College in May with a major in Sociology and a minor in
Community Studies. She interned with Global Playground the summer after her
was wonderful to work with Global Playground and to have the opportunity to see
such a different light on so many different things, such as cross-cultural
communication,” Nelson said. “It was great to work with a staff that is so
passionate about what they do and that is really driving change around the
worked with members of the organization during her internship to begin the
Moment of the Week initiative on the Global Playground website. Moment of the
Week highlights a picture, video or moment from the lives of the teaching fellows
at one of the five Global Playground schools. (correct me if this descrip is
with Global Playground showed me the capacity I had to produce the things that
they needed,” Nelson said. “It was incredible to see how my work paid off and
was benefiting the organization itself.”
has had an extensive career in service during her four years at the College.
She currently serves on the Branch Out campus executive board, working to plan
alternative break trips and train trip leaders. She entered as a Sharpe
community scholar, studying social justice issues in her freshman seminar. She
worked for the Lackey Free Clinic in Yorktown, Virginia, and she created her
own community-based research project on the effects of cooking-based nutritional
education on reducing childhood obesity.
spending a summer working with Global Playground, Nelson traveled to Ireland to
continue her international social engagement experience working with Ashoka.
There, she worked to coordinate the Change Nation summit during the summer
after her junior year. These experiences have contributed to Nelson’s continued
service to her community in Williamsburg and abroad.
the award was such a humbling experience,” Nelson said. “I don’t think I could
have gotten to that point without organizations like Global Playground
supporting me and giving me the opportunity to do the things that I have done.”