Nord Anglia Education
St Andrews Bangkok
15 April, 2024

Exploring culture and giving back: A journey to Ban Pang Mahan School

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A Trip to Ban Pang Mahan School

By Michelle, Year 12

In December of last year from Saturday the 16th to Wednesday the 20th, ten of our Year 11 and Year 13 St Andrews students: Poom, JJ, Prao, Natalie, Proud, Opal, Pond, Orm, Paul and Pin travelled to Chiang Rai on a trip to explore Northern art and culture, as well as to lend a hand to the Ban Pang Mahan School (โรงเรียนบ้านปางมะหัน). Our students engaged in activities such as language games, arts and crafts, cooking, planting and singing, and also held a Christmas party for the students to enjoy. Other students and teachers have been able to support the school with fundraising, with more upcoming plans in consideration for further ideas to support the school. Ban Pang Mahan School is one of the schools under the Mae Fah Luang Foundation.

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The Mae Fah Luang Foundation
Founded under Royal Patronage by Her Royal Highness Princess Srinagarindra in 1969, the Mah Fah Luang Foundation is based in Doi Tung, Chiang Rai and aims to improve the lives of rural Thai communities. Eight schools under the foundation practise different methods of education to embed holistic values such as discipline, responsibility, creativity, and innovation and to support young people to adapt to society whilst keeping a local context in mind. We at St Andrews have worked with the foundation for years since 2018. Previously, Service Weeks have been held for Year 12 CAS students to learn more about the foundation.

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Trip reflection

An excerpt of the trip reflection written by Pin, Year 13

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The trip was an incredible inter-year bonding experience, offering enriching perspectives and cultural exchanges. Learning about sustainability initiatives and regional progress, especially with my interest in developmental economics and policy, was immensely gratifying. Interacting with the school children of Pang Mahan was heartwarming, emphasizing our genuine care for them beyond meeting programme requirements.

Engaging in a trash sorting activity on our first day was eye-opening, highlighting the privilege many of us take for granted. Witnessing the sacrifices of workers sorting trash intensified my commitment to finding more efficient and humane solutions. The visit to the arboretum prompted reflection on the tranquillity of nature amidst the city's chaos.

Exploring culture and giving back: A journey to Ban Pang Mahan School - a trip to ban pang mahan school

Day two commenced with a hearty breakfast, setting the tone for exploring ethnic folkways in nearby villages. Immersing ourselves in the Lahu tribe's traditions underscored the importance of preserving cultural identity amidst modernisation. Interacting with local communities and witnessing their innovative farming methods left a lasting impression.

Exploring the Doi Tung attractions, indulging in delicious treats, and preparing for service activities at the Pang Mahan Childcare Centre filled the day with enriching experiences. Engaging with the children through games and activities, despite initial apprehensions, fostered unforgettable connections. Learning about the unique curriculum and agricultural focus of the primary school highlighted the importance of holistic education.

The final day commenced with hands-on participation in building soil bricks, offering insights into sustainable construction practices. Preparing activities for the children's Christmas party and bidding them farewell was bittersweet, marking the end of a memorable trip. Stargazing and reflecting on the journey with fellow STA students added a touch of nostalgia to our last trip as seniors.

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Though I missed the opportunity to witness shooting stars due to fatigue, the overall experience was unforgettable. As we bid farewell to this chapter, I'm filled with gratitude for the memories created and lessons learned. Here's to cherishing the moments and embracing the adventures that lie ahead.