Senses stimulation workshop

Last Friday the CCT team went to Hope Home to s et up a creative worshop with the children there. Hope Home is a foster-care home for special needs children who are referred from the local government orphanage in Chiang Mai. This organization is a real chance for these kids! Thanks to their dedicated staff children can receive daily therapy and adapted care, which they would not get in orphanages.
Three of the children are blind and most of them cannot communicate properly. So we used art to stimulate their senses and feelings during the workshop.
We came with bags full of various materials including pieces of fabric, foil, cotton balls, dead flowers, papers and plastic. The children enjoyed touching the different textures and surfaces.
It is always great to see them experiencing and discovering new things! There were textures they liked better than others. Cotton, for example, was a big favourite because of its soft touch.

Then they had to glue the pieces on a big white sheet of paper.

We also had bubbles, which the kids don't get often and are always amazed at!



Shadow Puppetry with Baan Vienping Orphanage!

Last Thursday was the first in a series of Shadow Puppetry workshops I will be working on with a group of teenage girls at Baan Vienping Orphanage. This project is an introduction to drama through shadow puppets. The use of puppets and masks is a great way to start using drama with a group for the first time. Shadow puppetry is a part of our history and tradition, predominantly in Asia, and different cultures are represented in different stories, styles and characters. Puppets stimulate imagination, encourage creative play, and are a wonderful way to introduce drama and story telling to even the most reluctant participants. The puppet gives the student a safe place in which to express themselves, and the stage, a platform to share their story and show their work without being too exposed, encouraging even the quietest of children to talk. While it is the puppet that is in the spotlight, the child’s creativity and imagination shines through.

The first session was an introduction to the concept of shadow puppetry, with Amp translating for me some interesting facts on the history and tradition of the art, some clips of shadow puppetry animation, and a demonstration performance using some puppets we prepared in advance. Thank you Amp and Gap for your entertaining dramatic skills on the shadow puppet stage! The idea was to introduce a number of ‘stock’ characters, which the children would use to devise their own story, and in the following sessions, create their own puppet and finally put on a show. We had prepared a number of shadow puppets from various cultures and traditions, which included a prince, a princess, a jester, a wolf, a snake, a dragon and a horse. These would stimulate the children's imagination, helping to form the basis of their own stories.

We created a small shadow puppet stage with translucent paper and a spotlight, with which to demonstrate a short show using our shadow puppets. The children were fascinated by the results of using of light and shadow to create an image on the stage. We had great fun playing around with the puppets and their shadows. We had also prepared some props to create depth, and showed simple techniques to enhance the appearance on stage, such as using colored cellophane to change the lighting and atmosphere. Along with our anticipated focus group of teenage girls, a much younger group of children turned up, eager to get involved and try out the puppets. As it often works out at Baan Vienping, the younger children turn up and want to join in. We usually bring some paper and pens so that they’re entertained while we carry out more difficult activities with the older group, but in this case decided to work with them on the shadow puppetry. They’re interest and enthusiasm was too great to turn down.

After watching the show and playing around with the puppets, we sat them down in groups to devise their own story suitable for a shadow play. Using the characters we created, and other familiar stories, they each came up with a story to script for the stage. Using princes and princess, snakes and dragons, this week, they will each create their very own puppet to bring to life on the shadow puppet stage. The workshop was entertaining and educational, and went down well with children and volunteers! I look forward to returning to continue the fun, and watching our little puppeteers in action!
Thanks to all involved!
Alice x


Bookbinding at M-Plus

Our former CAP volunteer Aimee, has been working on a series of writing workshops with M-Plus (a drop-in centre for Gay Rights and HIV prevention) with the idea that each participant comes up with a story personal to them, which will finally be printed into a hand made journal. The writing workshops at Mplus provided a safe place for the members of this community to their share personal experiences and stories with others in similar situations. The final session with the group was a bookbinding workshop, where the participants make a journal for these stories. Unfortunately the workshop was not able to go ahead during Aimee’s stay so on Thursday last, Amp, Wad, Erin, Christa and I went along to complete the book- binding workshop.
We arrived to a warm welcome and an enthusiastic group, with bundles of colorful handmade paper, needles and thread, and lots of glitter and pretty bits to decorate. We all enjoyed binding our own book (there was lots of laughter and amusement as we struggled with the needle and thread) and finally decorating and personalizing our own hand-bound journal, each participant adding their own personal touch and style to their piece.
The idea is that some of these stories will be translated, and, through the publication of a chapbook spread internationally, give a voice to this suppressed community.
We were touched by the enthusiasm and the warm welcome we received, the session was productive, fun and creative and the company was great!
Many Thanks,
Alice x


Children's Day at Baanviengping Orphenage


My name is Amelie, I come from France and I am in Chiang Mai to volunteer with CCT for 5 weeks. Last Saturday we were a group of 7-8 volunteers to set up a painting workshop for the Children's Day at a local orphenage. We all enjoyed this worshop very much, it was a lot of fun with the kids there!

Children's day is a big thing in Chiang Mai and all the children were very exited about it. We had a very full table of masks painting. Kids of all ages were coming to cut animal masks, paint them and eventually (for most of them) wear them.

We also had some face painting, which the kids loved.

We very much all had the feeling to fully participate to the party atmosphere there and the enjoyement of the kids.


Drama Day at Wat Pa Pao

Hello all, I’m Alice, the new volunteer drama teacher here at CCT. I’m here for a couple of months to develop a drama program for the organization, deliver some fun-filled drama workshops with the fantastic children CCT works with, and spend some time in lovely Chiang Mai. So far so good! December was a busy month for CCT, wrapping up all the existing projects and winding down for a well earned break, but we managed to squeeze in a day of drama workshops at Wat Pa Pao, a school for Burmese Migrant Children.

The drama workshops at Wat Pa Pao were the first of many I hope, and my first experience of teaching Drama in here in Chiang Mai. There are obvious differences in the issues, the challenges, the planning and delivering in comparison to my work in the UK, the main one being the language barrier, but this turned out to be no big issue, thanks to the brilliant translation and directions from Amp.

The theme for the day (for the two younger groups) was ‘animals’. We begun each session with some fun and active warm up games to get to know each other, find out how much the children knew about the subject, and to set the theme for the day. Start as you mean to go on! After a few silly games imitating all types of animals, and lots of laughs, we set off on our imaginary adventure, crossing slippery stepping stones’ through crocodile infested waters (Christa makes a great crocodile), diving under the water, becoming fish, meeting scary sharks, jumping through hoops and having a great time. The smiles and hoots of laughter from the children and the staff was worth it all. Towards the end of the session the children sat down to make an animal mask of their choice. We had monkeys, cats, rabbits, tigers and butterflies. The children had such great imagination, and really enjoyed ‘becoming’ their animal. Teachers were pleased as the drama activities helped their English (they were learning about animals at the time), and each child went home with their own animal mask.

With the older group, we planned a shadow-puppet making workshop. We made up some templates for various puppets, and after some explanation from Amp, the children set to work straight away on making their own puppet. Although the session turned out to be slightly over ambitious and maybe a little difficult with the short time involved, the children were really focused and showed great interest and skill in the creating their piece. They each left the session with their shadow puppet, finished or unfinished, and some knowledge on the workings of and idea behind shadow puppetry. We hope to go back and continue on what they started, spending more time on the puppets and creating a stage for their shadow puppets.

I can’t wait to get back to Wat Pa Pao for another session, and see their beautiful smiling faces again. What a great day, Thank-you Wat Pa Pao! Thanks to Nathalie for help in the Drama planning side of things, and thanks to Amp, Zoe and Christa for all your help and for joining in the fun!

Back again soon, Alice

Photography workshop with Grandma Cares

Starting at the beginning of December, myself, Zoe and Amp conducted a series of photography workshops with our new partner organization Grandmas Cares. The Grandma Cares photography project took place over the span of three workshops compiled into two weeks. All workshops taught the kids about photography and how it can be used to portray abstract concepts, like the meaning of family. Family has many different meanings to different individuals; photography is one way to express what the concept of family is to someone. The group we worked with were children from Grandma Cares, kids whose parents have died of HIV/AIDS and have been taken under the care of their grandmothers. The project was a fun, interactive and educational means for these groups to document their living situations and what family means to them, while also learning a new skill. The photos produced from the workshop, along with the kids’ stories, will be complied and displayed in an exhibition. The exhibition will be an introduction of these groups to the greater Chiang Mai community, who often overlook the HIV/AIDS and the effect it has on families. The exhibition will also raise awareness of Grandma Cares and the activities they do in supporting these populations.

The first workshop was an introduction to photography and cameras where we taught the kids the general basics of photography and how to use a camera. Photographer extraordinaire Amp did a wonderful job presenting examples and getting the kids interested in photography. Each kids took a roll of film which we had developed for the next workshop.

For the second workshop, we reviewed the photographs that were taken from the previous workshop by discussing the subject, composition, and other important elements of photography. The kids picked out their favorite photos and discussed what elements made it a good photograph. After the discussion of the photos, we started talking about family by having each child write down 5 words describing family. Many of them wrote words like "love" "comfort" and "happy." Each student took home a camera with the assignment to take photographs of what family means to them.

The final workshop we reviewed the photographs the kids over the weekend of what family means to them. It was wonderful to look through and discuss the assortment of photos. The subjects were diverse and included photos of family members, homes, friends, classrooms, objects, and animals. Many of the kids took pictures of their grandmothers in the kitchen cooking, their rooms with a still life composition, and of their teachers in the classroom. The kids selected one of their favorite photos and were asked to write down, "What is happening in the photograph? Why is the photo your favorite? Does it have a story? What is the story of the photo? And how does the photo portray family?"

Looking at the photographs of their families, and places, things, and people they consider portrays the meaning of family, was a wonderful experience. I really felt I got a brief "snapshot" into their lives and could see the importance their families have to them. The excitement the kids had when taking photographs was a beautiful thing to witness. They greatly enjoyed taking photographs and learning the mechanics of photography. Their photos and anecdotes will be presented in an exhibition planned for February. More to come....!