The Volunteers arrive!

After a great set of meetings with Non Profits, Architects and Social Enterprises in Mae Sot last week, we were eager to get on with the school build and were very excited to meet our first set of volunteers who will be working on the ‘Moving Schools‘ project throughout the month of June. We are very lucky to have three volunteers from the UK and 9 students from Hong Kong University who have all travelled to Mae Sot to help out on our project. On Monday, the cameraman for the project arrived just in time to film the first meet and greet of the Volunteer Induction Day. We look forward to posting video footage of the project as the weeks progress.

Volunteer Induction Day
Volunteer Induction Day

Yesterday, we met with the volunteers and gave them an introduction on the background of Building Trust International and an update on the ‘Moving Schools‘ project. All the volunteers seemed very keen to get stuck in and were excited to know we would be spending the afternoon visiting the current site of the Kwe Ka Baung School meeting some of the students and teachers and assessing the current facilities.

At 3pm we re-grouped at Kwe Ka Baung school, with the volunteers travelling through town by bicycle (a mini Tour De France in Mae Sot.) The first task was to let the volunteers gain an understanding of the current site and the school buildings. Edward a volunteer from Hong Kong University who is currently teaching at Kwe Ka Baung kindly agreed to take the volunteers on a tour of the site answering many questions from the group. It was great to hear the volunteers asking important questions such as the number of students per classroom and the utilities available on site. Edward showed us the newly built mushroom hut where the school hope to gain some extra finance through selling the mushrooms in town. He also pointed out the current problems with the school classrooms, from poorly built roofs to the issues of sound travelling through the current classroom walls.

Edward from HKU gives the volunteer a tour of the current school site at KKB
Edward from HKU gives the volunteer a tour of the current school site at KKB

It was great for the volunteers to meet some on the current Kwe Ka Baung students and staff. As the group walked through the site children shouted and waved saying ‘Hello’ to the volunteers.

We set the volunteers an interesting task for the afternoon, first splitting them into three groups (Red, Blue and Green.) They were given a tape measure and a specific building within the site to survey. We asked the groups to take key dimensions of the buildings, plot where supports were on the classrooms, note materials used on the build and measure wall thickness’s. This information will allow us to get a clear understanding of the facilities on the current site and help us to achieve an even better layout and plan for the new site. By gaining an understanding of the needs of the current school we will gain an insight in to the needs that can be applied to the new site.

Blue team measure the height of current building at Kwe Ka Baung
Blue team measure the height of current building at Kwe Ka Baung

Each team had their own ideas on how to measure the height of the school classrooms, from guessing the height based on their own height to standing on a chair to try and reach the top of the school classroom. It was great to see the teams having fun and enjoying carrying out the site survey.

After an hour taking dimensions and working out the layout of the classrooms the teams re-grouped to show their layout plan. It was amazing to see teams working together to come up with the easiest and quickest solution to survey the site. After a great first day, we finished by setting the volunteers a new task, to look into the history of the Burmese and Karen people. We want the volunteers to have a clear understanding of the people they are helping, in order to give them a deeper understanding of their ‘client’ before we start the build. Teams were given an A1 piece of paper with a chosen period of time, 1950 – 1969, 1970- 1989, 1990 – 2012. We hope that the volunteers will be able to research the history and on Thursday we will re-group to see what they have found out. Each group was also given two categories to research from art to music, fashion to religion, language to culture. We think this will be a very beneficial task to all of those involved in the ‘Moving Schools‘ project and look forward to seeing the results later in the week.

Green group review their chosen time period and study category
Green group review their chosen time period and study category

I look forward to updating your with more pictures and video clips as the build progresses.

Girls at Kwe Ka Baung
Girls at Kwe Ka Baung

 

One thought on “The Volunteers arrive!”

  1. Awesome Lou, keep up the good work and hope it all goes well. Hope they sell lots of mushrooms too!

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