Congratulations to Katrin Puutsa on achieving the Global Mentor Award

Learn to know, Learn to do, Learn to be, Learn to live together

To see Katrin’s portfolio of targets and reflections for the Global Mentor Award please click here.

Kati on the Baan Maelid project in Thailand

Kati on the Baan Maelid project in Thailand

Comment from Katrin:

Completing the award was an ongoing process for me, which started possibly back when I was in primary school. I have been fortunate enough to attend schools and work for organisations with vasts amount of opportunities to get involved with activities and projects to work towards the award. On the journey I’ve also been lucky to meet inspiring people and realise the journey never really ends, as when you grow your network and step out of your comfort zone, new and exciting opportunities arise, you just need the courage to grab them, learn and grow from them!

Kati, always up for the challenge!

Kati, always up for the challenge!

Congratulations Katrin on being an amazing Global Citizen.  We look forward to reading your contributions to the Global Citizenship Award website and continuing to be a global mentor to young people and anyone that you meet.

 Assessed by: Paul Crouch, Brittany Tang and Sarah Travis-Mulford

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Congratulations to Karen Partyka on achieving the Global Mentor Award

Learn to know, Learn to do, Learn to be, Learn to live together

To see Karen’s portfolio of targets and reflections for the Global Mentor Award please see here.

Karen participating in the World Clean-up challenge and with a Camillian Centre child

Karen participating in the World Clean-up challenge and with a Camillian Centre child

Comment from Karen:

The award was very beneficial and got me thinking about the world.

Karen on a Round Square project in South Africa

Karen on a Round Square project in South Africa

Congratulations Karen on being an amazing Global Citizen.  We look forward to reading your contributions to the Global Citizenship Award website and continuing to be a global mentor to young people and anyone that you meet.

 Assessed by: Paul Crouch, Brittany Tang and Sarah Travis-Mulford

Karen with Julianne in Thailand

Karen with Julianne in Thailand

Khun Nui – ‘I have a disability but I am not disabled’

A disabled body becomes an obstacle,

If broken limbs defeat your heart,

But love does not come from outward appearances,

It comes from the hope we nurture inside.

                                                                       Miss Thanaree (Nui) Fungpinyopap

Nui speaking at the We Walk Together conference in 2010

Nui speaking at the We Walk Together conference in 2010

Khun Nui has an inspiring story and she is an amazing person.  This is a lady that you must meet and invite into your school or organisation.  Ask her to tell her story and give her own thoughts about education and personal challenge to your students and colleagues.  Then let your team spend time with her and enjoy her company for the day – she likes to eat lunch!

In 2010 Khun Nui was one of many speakers at the Round Square International Conference – she had never spoken publicly before but had worked with the Regent’s students and staff for a couple of years through the community partner learning programme.  When it came to speaking in front of 850 people, 77 schools from all over the world and a royal family there may have been a bit of apprehension on her part!  On the day she really delivered – speaking from the heart and with emotion – there was not a dry eye in the audience.  Khun Nui also received the longest standing ovation of the whole conference.  Since then Khun Nui has spoken a number of times and always focused on her powerful message “that having a disability does not mean you are disabled,” something we can all reflect upon and think about when we find something challenging, difficult or even frustrating.  Below is an account of Khun Nui’s story.  You can also find Khun Nui via Facebook.

Khun Nui with the We Walk Together team at the Father Ray Foundation

Khun Nui with the We Walk Together team at the Father Ray Foundation

A Miraculous Child

My Story – by Miss Thanaree Fungpinyopap

When my father Thanakorn first laid eyes on me he was quite shocked; I was born without my arms and legs. Thankfully my father was a strong man and he promised in his heart to love me despite my disabilities. My mother however struggled to accept me for who I was. My mother’s family also felt my disabilities would bring great shame down on their decent name. They cruelly persuaded her to abandon me and my father.

My mother left our home as I neared my first birthday. I would learn later that she found a new husband and immigrated to Australia. My father now had to assume the role of both father and mother. This was an immense task for him to undertake; especially in those early years. He worked tirelessly to make sure I always had food to eat and clothes to wear. Despite the difficulties my disabilities presented he was always patient and loving with me. He often reminded himself that he was blessed with both arms and legs, whereas I, his daughter, was not. My father was also very protective of me and had little patience for those who looked down on me.

My father knew he couldn’t take care of me all his life. He understood how important it was to teach me how to become independent, confident and happy, so that one day I could take care of myself. Thankfully many of my father’s friends also offered their support. Then Tim, my first nanny, came into my life. Tim became like a surrogate mother to me. My father often took me out of the house and brought me around the town and countryside. People looked at me strangely. They turned their heads and stared as we walked by. But my father was defiant and proud to be with me. He helped teach me as a child not to feel shame for who I was. He always told me that ‘you are disabled in body, but people who mistreat you are disabled in the heart. You should be proud in everything you have; you are entirely able as long as your spirit is strong in your heart.’

When I was seven years old my father hired tutors to come to my home. This would be my first step on the road to education. I really enjoyed studying and I amazed everyone with my beautiful handwriting. I also loved to research books and learn more about general knowledge. I was delighted when I finished primary education; it was my first great achievement. As I neared the end of senior high school I learned of the Tongku School for adult education. This school allowed for its students to study and work at the same time. I applied and was accepted there. I studied here between the ages of eighteen and twenty. The principal of the school, Komkrit Junkajon, was exceptionally kind and helped me a great deal. One day he came to visit me at home. He confessed to be that he found me an inspirational person who gave him great strength to fight many of the problems in his own life. He said I was a miraculous child. He said the world would be a better place if everyone had my positive outlook on life.

My father got remarried. Soon I had two young brothers to play with. Unfortunately this meant the expense on our household increased and my father’s business, a car repair shop, struggled more and more. As our debt mounted my father and step-mother argued often. The stress led to my father suffering a brain hemorrhage and he passed away. This was a terrible tragedy for me. Sadness overwhelmed me. I wished I could have followed my father on his journey and not remain here all alone.

I didn’t think I could live without him.

His death led to further problems with my step-mom. She couldn’t handle the stress of maintaining the household and she put the blame on me. There was no love left for me in the house and I knew I had to leave. At first I had nowhere to go. My real mother was now living in Australia for over twenty years and I learned that she still couldn’t accept me and my disabilities, even after all this time. But then a former customer of my father’s shop, Daorung, who ran a tour guide company, gave me a job as a tour operator. I worked here for nine months.

Khun Nui receives a gift of thanks from Eye

Khun Nui receives a gift of thanks from Eye

After I finished working here I was taken in by P’Nuch and moved to house near my old home. During this period I was desperately sad. I put on a brave face and told everybody I was fine, but behind closed doors I cried myself to sleep and prayed for my father to rescue me from my loneliness. Then, as if my father heard my prayers, an old friend of his helped turn things around for me again. After my father’s old friend heard of my plight he offered to take me to Bangkok to live with him. He bestowed on me the same love and kindness that my father did and he restored a lost spirit in my heart.

It was during this time I applied for a two year course in Computer and Business Management in English, at the Redemptorist Vocational School for the Disabled in Pattaya. This was the first chance I had to enter the school system on a full time basis. At first I was both excited and nervous. Excited at the prospect of learning, nervous that my disabilities would make me stand out. But soon this worry vanished as I made many friends and immersed myself in study. It felt like a second home for me. My grades were good and the life lessons I learned here as a disabled person was invaluable. Fr. Ray wished his students to become independent people and rightly proud of themselves; I thank him for this legacy, as do all of my fellow students at the school.

My world became even larger when Fr. Deang presented me with a red electric wheelchair since I just came for 3 days. It was as if I had been given a pair of wings as now I could go anywhere I wanted to on my own. Entering my last term at the school I got a job at the Postway Company and I worked in telephone marketing and advertising. It gave me the opportunity to show that a disabled person could work as well as anybody else.

My graduation day was a great success and delight for everybody. I proudly received my certificate and felt ready to take on the world. I was ready to climb all obstacles and fight for what I wanted; a good job that would allow me to support myself and a family. My next step was to begin a BA in Public Relations at Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University. I graduated in November 2008 and receive my BA on January 15, 2010 and would like to thank all who have supported me in achieving this.

After Postway Company closed down I was lucky enough to be taken on by doctor Surapol as a salesperson of Zhulian Company. I traveled around Thailand with the good doctor presenting products to consumers such as toothpaste, shampoo, vitamins, ginseng coffee, wheat grass powdered drink etc… This job was my first opportunity to really see the beautiful country of my birth, Thailand, and was a liberating experience. I always wish the doctor good fortune on his travels and thank him for showing me my country.

Today I work, thanks to Khun Anon and all the priests, at The Redemptorist Centre Pattaya. I really like my job taking reservations supervisor. I also enjoyed to take care all the group guests to come here and love spending time in the beautiful natural surroundings of the centre. Here I have finally found a peace in my life and can achieve all those things which my father wished me to achieve; independence, self-belief and hope for the future.

Things I have learned in my life; ‘Positive thinking is everything – speak only with good words – treat others as you wish to be treated – give and you will receive.’

Written and Translated by:

Miss Thanaree (Nui) Fungpinyopap

Khun Mechai – transforming education in Thailand

Khun Mechai with the RS 2010 student steering committee

Khun Mechai with the RS 2010 student steering committee

The Mechai Patana School, also known as The Bamboo School, in Buriram in the North-east of Thailand is an amazing place for learning and community engagement.  In fact Khun Mechai Viravaidya, the founder of the school, likes to refer to the school as a 7Eleven – a ‘hub’ for the community that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year.  Khun Mechai has never done things by halves and is one of the leading social entrepreneurs and innovators of education in Thailand today.  Many people knew of Khun Mechai as ‘Mr. Condom,’ the man who spoke out in the 80’s and 90’s about the imminent threat of HIV/AIDS to Thailand and travelled the country promoting the use of contraception and using his ability to use humour and wit to get the message across to the (especially rural) Thai people.  He has rightfully been recognised with numerous awards and global positions for his work on population, development and HIV/AIDS issues as you can see in his short biography below.*

Mechai Patana students who have studied at Regents over the last three years

Mechai Patana students who have studied at Regents over the last three years

Today, though, he is still working hard for the rural disadvantaged and believes education is the key factor to bringing better opportunities and equality to rural communities and the people.  The Bamboo School is a unique and holistic approach to education within a typically rote learning based Thai education system.  His model gives young rural people the chance to learn life skills and the confidence to use them to be successful in life – not just for themselves but also for their families and their communities, ultimately preventing the educated from migrating to the urban centres such as Bangkok.  The Mechai Patana students engage in service learning, work experience, social enterprise initiatives, the interviewing and recruitment of their teachers, financial responsibility, creativity, sustainable thinking and action, etc.  They really are amazing global citizens who are independent learners and succeeding academically.  Khun Mechai has recently formed a partnership with a prestigious Thai university that has recognised that the MPS students are equipped with the learning skills and values to be successful in tertiary education and beyond and has agreed to offer places to every student that graduates from the Bamboo School.

Who is teaching who?

Who is teaching who?

Khun Mechai spoke at the We Walk Together conference in October 2010 and is an inspiring speaker for young people and educators.  I strongly recommend that you visit the Bamboo School in Buriram or in Jomtien (south of Pattaya), even better invite Khun Mechai into your school or workplace – you will not be disappointed.

*Khun Mechai Viravaidya is the Founder and current Chairman of the Population and Community Development Association (PDA), one of Thailand’s largest and most successful private, non-profit, development organizations. Since 1974, PDA has initiated community- based family planning services, innovative poverty reduction programs, large-scale rural development and environmental programs, as well as groundbreaking HIV/AIDS prevention activities throughout Thailand.

Mechai Viravaidya had a pivotal role in Thailand’s hugely successful family planning program, which saw one of the most rapid fertility declines in the modern era. The rate of annual population growth in Thailand declined from over 3% in 1974 to 0.6% in 2005, and the average number of children per family fell from seven to under two. Mechai Viravaidya pioneered and championed many of Thailand’s social mobilization and community development efforts that are now taken for granted. Although much of his time was spent in the NGO sector, Mechai Viravaidya has also served in the Thai government as a Senator, in 1987 and again in 1997, and as a member of the cabinet during 1985-86 and 1991-92. As a Minister to the Office of the Prime Minister for Anand Panyarachun in 1991-92, Mechai Viravaidya was the chief architect in building Thailand’s comprehensive national HIV/AIDS prevention policy and program. This initiative is widely regarded as one of the most outstanding national efforts by any country in combating HIV/AIDS. By 2004, Thailand had experienced a 90% reduction in new HIV infections. In 2005, the World Bank reported that these preventative efforts helped save 7.7 million lives throughout the country and saved the government over US$18 billion in treatment costs alone. In recognition of his efforts Mechai Viravaidya was appointed the UNAIDS Ambassador in 1999.

Apart from his involvement in the government and the NGO sectors, Mechai Viravaidya has business and corporate experience as member of the Board of Directors and Chairman of many major corporations. He also served as trustee on the Board of many Universities and international organizations. For his efforts in various development endeavours, Mechai Viravaidya has been accorded numerous awards and recognitions including: the United Nations Gold Peace Medal (1981), the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service (1994), one of Asiaweek’s “20 Great Asians” (1995), the United Nations Population Award (1997), and one of TIME Magazine’s “Asian Heroes” (2006). More recently, Mechai Viravaidya has been awarded the Nikkei Asia Prize for Regional Growth (2007). Again, PDA and Mechai Viravaidya were the recipients of the Gates Award for Global Health in 2007, and are one of the Skoll Awardees for Social Entrepreneurship in 2008, both of which are awarded with a cash gift of one million US dollars.

 

 

Peter Dalglish

In October 2010 the Round Square community of schools was privileged to be given the opening key note speech of the annual international conference by Peter Dalglish.  He is an inspiring and motivational speaker and presenter to young people and also adults.  Peter is a passionate advocate of human rights and especially those of the child and has vast experiences and many powerful examples and messages to deliver to his audience.  Peter is currently working for the United Nations in Afghanistan but is always keen to connect with schools that embrace learning through global citizenship and human rights advocacy.

Peter speaking with students from Regents International School Pattaya after a presentation

Peter speaking with students from Regents International School Pattaya after a presentation

Peter Dalglish is the founder of Street Kids International, and is a leading authority on working children, street children, and war-affected children. After graduating from Stanford and Dalhousie Law School, Peter Dalglish organized an airlift of food and medical supplies from Canada to the starving African nation. His encounter with emaciated and destitute refugees seared him for life. Peter Dalglish returned to Canada from Ethiopia and informed the senior partners of his law firm that he was giving up the profession to pursue a career alongside some of the world’s poorest children. In an isolated desert region along the Sudan’s border with Chad, Peter Dalglish organized humanitarian relief for women and children displaced by drought and famine. In Khartoum in 1986, Peter Dalglish began the Sudan’s first technical training school for street children, funded by Bob Geldof of Band Aid. Pickpockets, petty thieves and housebreakers were transformed into carpenters, welders and electricians; the graduates were hired by local businesses. In May, 1986 Peter Dalglish set up a bicycle courier service run entirely by street children in Khartoum. The kids delivered mail and newspapers to offices that they once had broken into; along the way they learned the importance of discipline and hard work. In recognition of his efforts on behalf of destitute African children, in 1988 Peter Dalglish was selected by Junior Chamber International as one of the ten outstanding young people of the world. Inspired by the tenacity and ingenuity of kids society had written off, Peter Dalglish returned to Canada in 1987 to found Street Kids International. Armed with $200, a borrowed office and an American Express card, he launched an agency that has become a global leader in designing creative self-help projects for poor, urban children. Between 1988 and 1990 Street Kids International in cooperation with the National Film Board of Canada developed Karate Kids, an animated film about HIV prevention; today the cartoon is in distribution in 25 languages and in over 100 countries, making it one of the largest initiatives for street children anywhere in the world. On account of the success of Karate Kids, in 1994 Street Kids International received the coveted Peter F. Drucker Award for Non-Profit Innovation.

Peter with Asadullah in Kabul

Peter with Asadullah in Kabul

In 1994, Peter Dalglish was appointed by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau as the first director of Youth Service Canada, the Government of Canada’s civilian youth corps. In 2002 Peter Dalglish was appointed as the Chief Technical Adviser for the UN’s child labour program in Nepal. Peter Dalglish now serves as the Executive Director of the South Asia Children’s Fund, which promotes quality education for profoundly disadvantaged children in the region. He is a founding board Member of the Board of Directors of Ashoka Canada, and is the recipient of three honorary doctorate degrees, the Fellowship of Man Award, and the Dalhousie Law School Weldon Award for Public Service.