PHUKET: The Yaowawit Boarding School was founded five years ago, post tsunami, to support those affected by the disaster. Today, the school continues to provide home and education to children from families who are unable to provide emotional and educational care.
Located approximately two hours north of Phuket just outside the small village of Kapong, one of the more remote rural areas of Phang Nga Province, Yaowawit School provides a unique environment where visitors can enjoy lunch and a chance to interact with some of the children who love to receive guests in order to practice their English.
Currently, 129 children live in the school, with ages ranging from 4 to 18, and around ten staff members.
The school’s mission is to break the cycle of poverty through inspirational and vocational education, which includes sustainable practices for future employment, and to provide emotional support, focusing on the children’s overall well-being.
With the inclusion of English Language Studies (double the hours required by Thai Government standards), their goal is to give students more possibilities in life by providing valuable communication skills.
Attached to the school is a small lodge with six guest rooms that provide not only sustainable income, but also allows travelers to experience the uniqueness of the project. Indeed, the school provides hospitality training for the children in the belief that this is a sustainable industry for the area. The children enjoy this unique opportunity to also learn through experience.
Other courses offered include farming techniques, music, art, craft work, sewing and hairdressing – all in order to provide as many opportunities for the kids as possible.
The students are happy to show visitors around the 25 hectare grounds and will proudly exhibit their fish farm, greenhouse, rice plantation and herb garden, all of which are cared for by them, under the guidance of their teachers.
Yaowawit staff members pride themselves on maintaining close personal ties with the children’s families too. When the school closes, the children return to their families or extended families to enjoy and reconnect with their cultures. During this time the Family Department, headed up by Mr Attapol “Bill” Jarusathorn, visits all the families to discuss the children’s progress at Yaowawit and any other relevant issues.
The families themselves are grateful for this support and the respect shown to them. This is a very sensitive issue as many families would ultimately prefer to take care of their own children.
The Family Department recently visited ten children who come from Koh Payam and Koh Laow, two small “sea gypsy” communities off the coast of Ranong. This marginalized group of people struggle to meet their daily needs, but what became evident from this last visit, was that their situation has improved dramatically.
By providing care and education for up to three or four children in one family, they are now able to provide more for both themselves and their community. Living conditions have improved, as well as the health and hygiene of the children. The school acknowledges that their efforts are having a direct and positive impact on their community.
It is hoped that the children living and learning at Yaowawit will return to their communities with practical skills andr gain meaningful employment to support their communities financially.
You can help the school by enjoying their restaurant or lodge.
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