31.8.11

Nature comes to the children of Hope Home....


Today I got the opportunity to visit a residential home for children with special needs and the name on the outside could not be more the truth than when you hear the joyous sounds of Phil, Boonrat, Uytana, Joy and Ruamchok. Hope home is a residential home for boys and girls who suffer from special needs such as Down syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and in some cases Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The minute you enter the gates you feel the love, the support and feeling of joy that actually feels tangible.



The gorgeous and inspirational children who stay at Hope Home smile every time they see CCT arrive at the door to work with them, they know it means fun times and loads of laughter and like every workshop with the children at Hope Home, they did not disappoint, they had massive smiles on their faces and they were ready for the workshop ahead and what CCT had planned for them on a gorgeous sunny day.


One thing I noticed at Hope Home was that every child was full of smiles and from every smile shone love, emotion and a thirst for life. Each child at Hope home is a joy to work with and talking about Joy, she really enjoyed every aspect of this workshop and the idea that the world would come to her and that she even got a chance to wear it because she is very special, she is the only girl at the moment at Hope Home.

On the other hand the boys also got the chance to feel the outside world too, they got the opportunity to feel the texture of the leaves from outside, to feel it against their faces, their hands, their feet and their legs and each one the loved the sensation of the leaves, the flowers and the pebbles against their skin and the children even made some major achievements using their motor skills and their eyes to follow the items from the outside world.


The children then got the opportunity to create their own piece of outside art and made their own leaf prints, all of the children used their paper and leaves and colored crayons against the paper and loved the sensation of the bumps in the leaves when they were creating their pieces of art. This activity worked so well and the children loved it that much that CCT is considering more shops which help to work on the motor skills and using the children’s arms and feet during art making.



My experience at Hope Home was both very emotional and inspirational, these children are angels and they smile with every inch of their being that it’s hard to leave Hope Home; I will forever remember their faces and the gorgeous energy that they ooze.





30.8.11


Our time at Wild Flower Home is always a sweet combination of chubby babies and excited mothers. We are currently working with 8-10 mothers some of who are incredibly young only 13years old and have just given birth. This month's workshop with the mothers entailed a small present for their hard work making and selling cards. We created tied-dyed t-shirts, using wild and wacky colors, and then transferred photos of the women and children onto the back. The final product was fantastic and the faces of the mother's as we peeled away the final layer revealing the transferred photo on the shirt was priceless! Everyone laughed and clapped! Enjoy the photos below!







24.8.11

Looking at Myself: Self Portraits with the girls of New Life Centre





Rarely in life will you have opportunity when you get the chance to meet one person or even a group of people who touch your heart so much that you fall in love with every single one of them, this has happened for me whilst working with the beautiful girls of The New Life Centre in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

I got to meet 7 very kind hearted, sweet and inspirational girls who all have a story to tell and who were able to share it with me freely in a setting of comfort, security and creativity. The girls of New Life Centre are the victims of Sex Trafficking, many of them have escaped being sex trafficked to the security of the New Life Centre and some of the girls have even suffered the unimaginable pain, suffering and sorrow that will forever cover every aspect of their lives being being sex trafficked in the 21st Century.



Abuse comes in many different forms, although sexual abuse is one form that both destroys and smashes the dreams, aspirations and motivations of a child and steals every inch of their childhood from them, which is their god given right. I remember my first day working with the girls, i walked into their centre and i could both feel and see the sadness in their eyes, but the minute that they noticed that both myself and the other employees from the Cultural Canvas office had arrived, the smile on their face was from ear to ear.



This week the girls got an opportunity to explore the medium of Abstract Self portraits using oil pastels and water colors in their self portraits to portray what they felt was really inside them, the girls produced beautiful pictures and it was a great way in which the girls could explore what they were feeling about themselves. They got an opportunity to learn about how watercolor paints and oil pastels will resist each other on paper - the girls used every minute of this workshop to put their heart and souls into showing their real inner beauty.



The girls are also very enthusuastic learners and want to learn new things at every given opportunity with Cultural Canvas, this is why i decided to do some songs in english with the girls as they love to learn the english language. The girls sung their hearts out to "Head, shoulders, knees and toes" and they also got the opportunity to learn the alphabet, such simple games but just for a moment all i heard was laughter and joy and all i witnessed was smiles and peace - these girls dont just come to produce great pieces of art, they come because they know that even if it is for a moment, they escape...they escape the terrors, the fear and the anguish of their abuse...just for a moment they are able to be who they really are......Childen.


Please find out more about the girls and what they make at their website:

http://www.newlifecentrefoundation.org/

Sean Neilson

xxxxxxxxxx

23.8.11

Memory jar using Chalk and Salt.



Hello everyone!  My name is Cee and I am from Chiang Mai, Thailand. I have been working with Cultural Canvas Thailand since April last year, now I am a new  employee at  Art  Relief International and i have loved every moment.
I have a bachelors degree in Cinematography  from Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi which is close to Bangkok, I like teaching quite alot and therefore I have been studying for my Professional Teaching Certificate from Chiang Mai Rajabhat University which i successfully completed this year in March.

I enjoy my job at Cultural Canvas Thailand quite alot because we do a considerable amount of teaching and we also get the opportunity to work with many volunteers and many different projects which work with marginilised groups here in Chiang Mai. 
Cultural Canvas has a lot of new Ideas for teaching children and this gives me new insight and perspective on the varied ways in which you can teach young children. Iam a very easy going and happy person and i like to help people and Cultural Canvas gives me this opportunity and i also get the added bonus of getting to know loads of nice people from around the world. This has allowed me to teach in many different formats and is also a good way in which i can follow my dreams.

Every Thursday we have workshops with a group called Young Lions who are young children who are Burmese refugees and they will come along every week to the CCT office where they have loads of fun and create great pieces of art.
Today we have a new volunteer from Scotland, his name is Sean. Sean has decided to do a very interesting  activity with the children at the Young Lion workshop. We decided to make a memory jar using Chalk and Salt.  This activity was a great success with the young lions and i really enjoyed the process myself, it shows that having new volunteers and new ideas we can create a great workshop for the local community.




Koop Koon Ka

Cee xx

Bringing the wonders of Outside, Inside at Mitmaundek


Sawatdee Krup (Hello in Thai),

Pom Cheu Sean (My Name is Sean) - This is about all that i have been able to soak up whilst here in Thailand but iam trying everyday to learn new and fascinating words in order to have a full conversation, but i dont think it will be coming to me anytime soon.....

Anyway, My name is Sean Neilson and im volunteering here at Cultural Canvas Thailand in the gorgeous surroundings of Chiang Mai. I arrived here last week after a very long Journey from Glasgow, Scotland. My time here has been nothing short of amazing so far, every moment has been filled with laughter and loads of fun and the rich tapestry of colors and smells have relighted my senses and given me a instant love for everything that is Thai.

This week i got down to some volunteering work with the very kind hearted and rather sweet Cee (House Mother & Translator) and Mandy (Art Director) at a little home called Mitmaundek. One of the reasons for my trip to Thailand and to work with Cultural Canvas was mainly because of their inspirational work with children with a variety of special needs ans also their involvement in art projects dealing with children who suffer from Cerebral Palsy.



My younger brother Ryan who was a massive part of my life and for whom i cared for, for 12 years alongside my mother, suffered from cerebral palsy too and could not walk, talk, sit up or do many of the things that many abled bodied people take for granted. Ryan became very ill whilst in hospital and then came home after spending almost 3 months in Intensive Care (ITU) in Glasgow. I put Ryan to bed one Night and he fell asleep and never woke up again, this was the day that i lost my best friend and i thought nothing would ever be the same again......

This brings me to today and im thousands of miles away from Home and Volunteering with many marginilised groups here in Chiang Mai. Iam helping to try and make a difference to their lifes and creating pieces of art that not only are beautiful, but also create a space in which many of these people can use art to open up and explore their emotions.

One such group is the gorgeous children from Mitmaundek, these children suffer from many forms of Special Needs from Cerebal Palsy, Autism, ADHD to brain damage from surgery and each child is extremly varied in their needs but never in their abilities. Each child has the opportunity to do what every other child gets a chance to do.....be children. They get the chance to get messy, to use their feet, use their hands, paint, draw, use their senses and create pieces of art that symbolise who they really are.


This week i decided to give the children a sense of the outdoors and bring the outdoors to them, i brought along leaves, pebbles and flowers from the Cultural Canvas Office Garden for the children to use their senses. The children got an opportunity to smell, touch with their hands, arms, legs and feet to texture and feeling of leaves and pebbles and flowers and also got the opportunity to smell the flowers from the garden too. They loved every minute of using their senses and it was the first time all of the children had been engaged at the same time.

The children also got the opportunity to make their own leaf prints by using the leaves that they had sensed and then placing them under different colored paper and using crayons to imprint their leaf onto paper, the children loved this process and loved to see what new picture they would create with each of the different textured leaves.


This art workshop was an amazing success and i was very emotional during the process because of the love and attention that the children gave to me who was a complete stranger, they accepted and greeted me and made me feel like i was home. The workshop was inspirational, emotional, creative but most importantly fun.

11.8.11

Hello everybody!


This is Florence from ARI, and today is my last day : (

It has been an unbelievable and unforgettable experience to be a volunteer in this organization!

Today we visited Hope Home and our theme was painting in textures.

When we first arrived, we sang songs with the children. This is something that they absolutely enjoy!

Then we got on to painting: first with watercolors of different shades, using lateral motions with the paintbrush. Then we went to using cups as stamps and dipping them into white acrylic paint. They had tons of fun stamping those cups on the paper.



mmm yummy cup!



It was amazing to bring a smile to their faces during this activity!

Ciao!
Florence
Blog for Wild Flower Home




Hello Everyone! This is Florence from ARI!

So Monday we went down to see Wild Flower Home in the afternoon!

We decided to make some tie-dye shirts with them, and eventually printing out a picture of the women and their children onto the shirts.

When we first arrived, we played a name game to introduce ourselves, and to get to know everyone’s names. Then we explained how tie die works, and the steps you need to take before actually putting the die on the fabric. They had a great laugh using all those elastics and seeing their shirts taking such funny shapes!

Then it was tie-dye time! Their plain white shirts soon became a wonderfully filled with colors.


 




 
 


They were very eager to see their final products, but they had to wait untill Tuesday for the dye to settle in properly in the fabric.
Tuesday was very exciting as they undid all the elastics on their shirts to reveal the final product. Their Shirts were absolutely lovely, and they were very happy with the outcome!

Next time, we are coming with pictures of the women and their kids and we will iron them on their tie-dyed shirts!

Until next time

Florence : )

10.8.11

Inner Self-Portrait

Hello everyone! It is Florence from ARI again!


This is my last week at CCT, and therefore it was my last workshop with the New life Center girls 

It really has been amazing to work with this group and to see their progress!

Today’s activity consisted of making an Inner-self-portrait. In other words, a self-portrait of their emotions using colors as a medium for expression!

When we first arrived, we asked the girls what was their favorite color, why, and how that color made them feel. Then we taught them what emotion was linked with which color. We then had fun playing a little game where we said the emotion and they had to choose the appropriate color! They had a lot of fun!

Then we got to work! We arrived with the outlines of their faces already drawn onto watercolor paper.

We then taught them about abstract art so that they could draw abstract lines (to separate the colors) within their portraits.

Then they got to painting! The watercolor was a bit tricky because they weren’t used to mixing so much water with paint, but by the end of the workshop they really got the hang of it!




The girls really enjoyed this activity, and it taught them how to express themselves using lines and colors. I can say we all had a blast today, and it makes me sad knowing it was my last workshop with them!

Until next time!

Florence

5.8.11

Making Maracas with the Young Lions

Hello everyone, this is Florence from ARI!

Yesterday we spent a great afternoon with the Young Lions! The theme for the workshop was maracas, an instrument from Latin America.


First we taught them about maracas, where they come from and how to use them to make great rhythms and beats.  















The kids had a lovely time shaking their maracas made of recycled toilet paper rolls, filled with rice and beans.






The young lions decorated their maracas by gluing colorful papers onto the rolls. The final product was really nice, filled with bright colors!


We then played a really fun name game to get to know our newcomers! They had a blast!
Until next time!
Florence : ) 

4.8.11

Creating beautiful butterflies with the kids from Mitmoundek

Hi everyone, this is Audrey, reporting for the last time from the CCT office :( .
This morning we had a workshop with the lovely kids of Mitmoundek. Today's subject was creating colorful butterflies.
They applied paint only on half of the paper, folded it, pressed it and opened it. SURPRISE! The whole paper is covered with colorful paint blobs, in a nice butterfly shape.
We attached a thread and the kids got to make them fly.

Sarm, very proud of his butterfly

Then we sang, Thai, English and French songs.

Those kids are truly amazing and I'm glad I had the chance to meet them and spend some time with them.

The Young Lions are coming right now at the office, I should probably go and enjoy my last workshop here in Thailand.
This whole experience was amazing and I'd like to thank everyone I've worked with.

Bisous, Audrey.