Global Playground board members Doug Bunch and Jason Maga; teaching fellows Amanda Cordray, Scott Gemmell-Davis, and Kendall Lorenzen; and volunteer Cathy Ji brought in the new year with visits to many of GP’s affiliated schools throughout Southeast Asia. In just two and a half short weeks, the group visited the newly finished school in Paw Myar, Myanmar; Mae La Noi Daroonsik in Thailand; Khe Sanh Primary School and Pa Nho School in Khe Sanh, Vietnam; and Mangoso Elementary School in Sigma, Capiz, Philippines. “The whole trip was a complete whirlwind and definitely tiring, but it was such an incredible experience to see firsthand the impact that Global Playground has made in so many communities” says Teaching Fellow Amanda after reflecting on the trip.
The visit to Paw Myar, Myanmar left the group feeling motivated after being welcomed by a small, but enthusiastic community who expressed their deep appreciation for assistance in constructing the community’s first school. Every member of the community came out to greet GP’s members and volunteers, who all later took part in a town hall style meeting to identify the school’s needs.
The group spent a full day in the classroom while visiting Mae La Noi Daroonsik in Thailand. The students were eager to show off their English skills in a variety of classroom games and hands-on activities.
In Vietnam, Teaching Fellow Scott and Global Fellow Kendall were given thorough tours of their new schools in the town of Khe Sanh. Students at Khe Sanh Primary School were so excited about their arrival that within minutes of stepping onto the school’s campus, both Scott and Kendall were being asked for their autographs.
The group had the special opportunity to tour the new school building that has just started construction at Mangoso Elementary School in the Philippines after the community was badly affected by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. On this school visit, volunteers and board members also spent one-on-one time with the students “dreaming” about what they wanted to be when they grew up and designing part of the new school building.