Home > Awareness > “Goodbye Garbage” Green Wave: Mae Rim, Thailand

Teaching English to primary three students at Ban Ton Pheung School in Mae Rim, about a 30min drive from Chiang Mai in Thailand, is a weekly part of my gap year: what better place to teach these kids about recycling and make them part of the first Panagaea “Goodbye Gabage” Green Wave?

Ban Ton Pheung School has about 170 students: it provides education for 3 years of pre-school, 6 years of primary and 3 years of secondary schooling. The students are from poor backgrounds: 50% of the students are Thai (usually children of rice farmers, etc.) while 40% of the students are stateless as they’re ethnic minorities from the mountains in the region.

When we entered the classroom, we were greeted by a group of enthusiastic children who were eager to start their lesson with us! It was great to see their willingness to learn and gain knowledge… As this was their first time to learn about recycling and garbage, we had to start off the lesson by teaching them basic vocabulary such as “paper”, “bottle”, “can” and “glass”, and soon the class was shouting these newly-learnt words in unison. Showing them a short video clip about the 3 R’s (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle), we tried to present the topic, which is actually quite complex, in the simplest possible way for them to understand… To reinforce the idea of the 3R’s, the students had the opportunity to reuse plastic bottles to make bottle-men: You should have seen the joy on the faces of the children when they saw that they could make their very own bottle-men/women! As time was running out, we had a hard time to tell the children to stop the activity as they were so engaged in their arts and crafts…

It was a real pleasure to teach these children for one and a half hours, as they were unbelievably interested and involved in the topic: if we were all like one of these 8-year-old children, our world wouldn’t be facing any garbage problems! During our whole time at Mae Rim, we couldn’t take the smile off our faces as the joy of the students was simply infectious…


Quick Info:

  • Date: 22/09/2011
  • Location: Mae Rim, Chiang Mai, Thailand (18°54’53 N, 98°56’41 E)

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