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After-school program in Northern Thailand

Report: May to September, 2016.

 

This report is about the after-school program at the Baan Huaypoo School, located in Thaton Mea-I district, about 179 kilometers from Chiang Mai in Thailand. We have previously published a story, but this is a report from the managers of the after-school program.

Kids Ark Foundation launched the House of Hope after-school program for children attending the Baan Huaypoo School. The Rights Now Foundation supports the program. Children have access to activity-based learning in order to help them grow emotionally and physically. They also learn Thai, health and hygiene, together with other subjects.

The pupils are Thai nationality and ethnic minorities such as Lahu and Shan. They come from poor families and their parents work in the fields. Normally, when the children return home from school, no one can help them with their homework. So, they play with their friends while waiting for their parents to return home. Now, House of Hope increases their learning, their capacities and qualities as young humans. There are 45 children, 21 boys and 24 girls, aged from six to fifteen years. This is the main group that attends the after-school program.

The staff helps the pupils with activities, like reading and spelling in Thai and English. As a result, all children have improved the reading and writing skills. Their self-confidence grows. Pupils also learn other skills, such as handicrafts and cooking, something they can use in the daily life.

The children are divided into two groups. They work together but they have different tasks to do. In the first group they need to read and then write a summary of what they have read. In the second group of pupils, they only practice reading and writing. Working together means they learn from each other.

The pupils need to improve their English language skills constant. Staff teach them vocabulary, how to translate from English into Thai, and how to use the dictionary. The children think English is a very difficult assignment. And when teachers assesses the capacity to learn, the conclusion is that pupils don’t remember enough. It may also be added that teachers do not always have sufficient knowledge of English.

Some areas of development

Self-confidence
Individuals have gained in self-confidence. By learning to accept themselves and other people, and to believe more in themselves and their abilities. They learn to evolve and they are motivated to improve themselves so that their self-esteem develops too.

Nutrition
Every child is served a nutritious dinner with meat, eggs and vegetables. The staff serves different meals each week with fresh vegetables, meat and fruit. Children now drink more water and milk instead of soft drinks.

Hygiene
The children learn about dental hygiene. They brush their teeth every day after lunch at school. The girls do not have lice as before because they washes their hair and the teacher uses special shampoo twice a month to prevent lice. The children have to wash their hand before eating.

The pupils participate in drawing and arts classes, cooking, environmental awareness and physical exercise.

Reported by Anders Bjers

Children of Lahu – preschool is a hub for growth in northern Thailand

We visit a preschool in a village in Mae Ai district, northern Thailand. The villagers belong to the minority group Lahu. A minority of which several are without citizenship, even though they were born in Thailand. They speak a language that is not in writing. They have no or little knowledge of human rights and no real access to medical care. This is a preschool Rights Now supports – to provide access to education and thus a chance for children of Lahu to create their lives and assert their rights as Thai citizens.

A day at the preschool

We arrive at the end of the day. Children stand in line to get a fruit before they go home. After closing, kids are running around and playing. In and out of bambu huts that are built on stilts with a rickety ladder up to the entrance and with an open hearth cooking place. They run up and down the hills, and their skin becomes reddish from the lightly iron colored sand. Pigs, chickens and dogs walk freely around the village. It is visible poverty by many standards.

In the preschool 39 children aged three to nine years have access to a safe and creative environment where they can practice Thai and numbers. Their parents will be able to work in the fields without having to worry about their kids. Walls in the school are filled with drawings and various creations made by the children. It is a room full of knowledge, creativity and joy. In addition to math and writing exercises, children are served one nutritious meal a day. The children get along with their teachers and learn about hygiene, washing clothes, and knowledge of nutrition. Together, they have planted a vegetable garden to enhance school lunches. If the harvest is good, the children take the vegetables home.

Dreaming of development

The teacher says that she dreams about evolving the school even more, to use new teaching methods and provide the children with more opportunities. For them to take advantage of their dreams and develop their talents. She tries to work with educators at other schools. The village also has a “non-formal school” whose teachers do not always have the chance to come to the village because of other engagements. That is a non formal school; No guarantee that a teacher is present. That is how it works when you do not know your rights when you are not a formal citizen, when you partially live outside the formal society and lack knowledge in the formal and written language. When the teacher from the non formal school is not able to come to the village – the preschool teacher even teaches the schoolchildren.                                                                        She sees needs and takes advantage of every opportunity.

Language, health and confidence – how children grow

After the preschool opened, the children have not only gained an entrance into the Thai language, several children have better health status and self-confidence. Parents have greater opportunities to take the jobs offered to support the family. The preschool has made a clear difference to the whole village, where 78 families live. All of the children can not participate, some need to follow their parents into the fields. Teachers and teacher assistants try to have a dialogue with the parents about the importance of children being in preschool and school.

During the conversation with the teacher and teaching assistant a man steps into the school building. He walks around the room, trying to listen in on our conversation. After a while the teacher explains that he is the “head of village”. He has heard that someone from the Rights Now Foundation is in the village. And, he would like to thank Rights Now of behalf of the entire village. The preschool means so much. Even small means changes the lives of children, parents and families. Provided a greater chance of a life beyond the village, if you will, a life with a greater chance of being free of diseases and to have enough to eat. A chance for more opportunities for people of Lahu.

As told by Karolin Kral, Boardmember of the Rights Now Foundation, visiting the preschool in northern Thailand.

Therapeutic Workshop for Syrian Refugees – Ad.dar Center in Istanbul

 

Facts

Project: The Ad.dar Center in Istanbul, Turkey.
Reported: October 10th 2015–January 24th 2016.

Therapeutic Workshops for Syrian and Palestinian children, organized, facilitated, and overseen by the Ad.dar staff. Weekly workshops held at the Ad.dar Center in Istanbul.

The number of children grew every week and the need is so great that we added additional classes during the weekdays for young teenage girls (ages 10- 14 years). The families have expressed their gratitude many times for the workshops- many of the new children are not in school and cannot attend for varying reasons. The time at Ad.dar is a great help to the parents and the children. In early November some of the young teenage girls came to us and asked if we could give them additional classes during the week – they are not in school and they have a great desire to learn. We immediately began classes for them on Mondays and Fridays- Arabic, Turkish, English, Music and Art/Photography/Storytelling.

On average we spent 12-15 hours a week with the children in workshops and on excursions. In addition to this workshop (on Saturdays and Sundays) we held 3 hours of tutoring the children on Sundays and 4 hours of classes twice a week for the young teenage girls. The extra excursions included; a trip to the Istanbul Aquarium, a day of bowling and out for lunch, an Art workshop at The Salt Gallery designed for kids and held by Syrian and Turkish artists, a ferry ride and picnic on the Asian side, a trip to a forest with a picnic and a trip to Istanbul Modern Museum. Between 25-30 children ages 5-12 participated in all of the weekend activities. Relationships with new families were established and existing relations with parents developed, strengthening Ad.dar Center’s accountability and stimulating interest in our other outreach programs.

The funds received from Rights Now enabled our center to effectively carry out the goals of our proposed workshop. With the generous funds received for this workshop we feel that we have greatly improved our workshop in general. Ad.dar staff is better equipped and trained, our center has more tools to help with teaching, and the number of children that attend has increased. We have felt comfortable responding to the needs of the young teenage girls to add classes and to be able to provide a warm, open space and to offer hot and nutritious meals.

Ad.dar Center would like to thank the Rights Now Foundation for the opportunity to accomplish the workshop.

Watch a video from one of the workshops by Ad.dar:

Field trips, learning and stories – CJC, Lebanon

Facts

Project: Children of Al-Jalil Center (CJC), Baalbek – Libanon
Reported: March – April, 2016

Al-Jalil Center (CJC), provides support for Syrian children who receive daily schooling and weekly activities at the CJC. During January – February 2016, 246 children aged 6-14 years, came to CJC, to participate in our training programs. At the start 73 of the children could neither read or write.

The children come to the center to study Monday – Thursday, their focus is to study:
– Mathematics.
– Arabic.s
– English.
– Computers / Programming.

Also – psychosocial activities (games, drawing, crafts, etc.) are included for all children every Friday and Saturday. We also conducted workshops on children’s rights for the children to understand and know more about their rights.
Children of Al-Jalil Center is supported by Rights Now, enabling the organization to sustain the activities for the children who are refugees from Syria. Among other contributors is: OXFAM.

Below is an excerpt from the full report, and please view pictures below as well.

Weekly activities

The children are provided some structure in their lives by being part of the camp and receive education and psychosocial activities.  All children take part in daily education focusing on different subjects: Arabic, Math, English and Computer. CJC teacher’s divided them into groups. The first group who can read and write come to the centre in the morning, while the second group (73 children) come to the centre afternoon to study.

Storytelling

In April, a CJC trainer facilitated workshops for the children to share their stories and experiences while fleeing from the war in Syria.

During the first day, the children were taught the skills of story telling by writing, drawing, etc. On the second day, all 19 children started to share their stories:

– About their daily life in Syria before the crises.

– Their daily life in Syria during war.

– Their time and often hard suffering in Lebanon as children living in a refugee camp.

This is Mohamad’s story.

He came from Syria to the center. He can read and write arabic with some difficulty, but he isn’t able to read or write in english. He started by saying;

” I’m Mohamad, 13 years old, Syrian who live in the village Daraa. I have 6 brothers and 2 sisters”.

Mohamad told his story at the CJC workshop on story telling, he started to describe his war journey from Daraa to Damascus, the sounds of bombs and rockets.  He remembers when they bring his father to their house. He dies, being shot many times. After that, Mohamad started to cry and didn’t continue to tell more about his experiences…. (But he was comforted by his teacher and well cared for).

Field trips

On March 27, 80 children aged 9-14,  participated in a trip to Baalbeck ruins/castle and a lunch in the Ras El Ain garden where Al Jana was organizing a show with clowns and some outdoor games for all the children.

On April 4, 82 children aged 6-14, participated in a trip to the amusement park in Jeb Jin for a two hour visit and lunch.

The children were very happy, especially the kids aged 6-9.

Conclusions

We, CJC, can say that the project at the center is providing direct results of improvements for the children in terms of reading and writing, and this is making their daily lives and their future easier.

CJC staff, the children and our community – thank Rights Now for the support and look forward to more cooperation and community development.