At Some point in our life we all experience some sort of traumatic event. It can be from the passing of a loved one, an almost drowned incident which causes a fear of water or the most heart breaking trauma in any ones life, when a child who is supposed to be loved and cared for, is exposed to an unspeakable act which causes a trauma to scar them for the rest of their lives.
It has been said that once we set our minds to an objective then the universe conspires to help make it happen. This was the case when Didi met with counseling psychologist Sandy Kumar coincidentally at the airport several months ago. This random meeting progressed into another meeting with Dr. Parvathy Varma, Program Director, Dr Donald Johnson and Dr. Santosh Mohanan, Lecturer from Graduate Program of Counseling Psychology at Assumption University. We discussed the possibilities to collaborate in order to help the children. This event opened a gate way for a group of graduate students under the supervision of Dr. Santosh who came to Baan Unrak to conduct interventions such as games, fun activities and drama therapy in order to asses the children’s current mental state.
The Morning started with assembling a group of 26 children between the ages 13-18. The children were only informed that our guests were students from the Assumption university and not that they were student studying psychology. This was done so the children would not hold back their emotions during the activities.
After the introduction the children were asked to fill out a questionnaire of 25 questions. After they had done that our guest started with several games to make the children feel more comfortable. During the introduction session they were asked to express how they were feeling, emotions of feeling great,excited and happy were the main topics.
One of the games was for the children to find a space in the room where they would feel safe, surprisingly some hid behind the curtains others underneath a table or even behind one of the guests. After they had found their space they were asked what emotion they were hiding from, or why they choose that space. After this they were asked to play a game of Rock, paper, scissors in two groups. the upperhand would have to catch members from the apposing group to build out their team. The kids enjoyed this game the most.
Another game that was played was to create groups and one member of the team would be blindfolded and randomly taken to a different part of the room. They did not know who was guiding them there. They had to make their way back to their team members by following the voice from across the room, sometimes another team would misguide them into a wrong direction. During the focus session on day two they were asked how this made them feel. One strong emotion which took the upper hand was fear. Even though their friends were guiding them they still felt a sense of fear because they were not in control of the situation.
After lunch our guests organized a play for the children where everyone would have to actively participate in a role. The story was about a group of explorers going to find a treasure, however once they reached the cave they found a group after of trapped people. They were informed about the story and had a first rehearsal they were asked what they would like to have different in the story or the setup of the play. At this point the children instigated that they wanted to make props for their play. Everyone actively took part in making their decor by making drawings, building a cave or even assembling costumes. In the morning of day two they performed their play for the children, mothers and staff of Baan Unrak. During the focus group they were asked how they felt about doing the play and how they felt about their friends in their role.
At the end of day two they were asked again to fill in the questionnaire, the children were able to express their feelings during the focus group when they were asked about how they felt during the session of a day and a half and our guests were able to make an observation of what they saw during this time. They expressed their personal feelings about the children and only had kind and wonderful words to say about them. they also expressed their emotions through drawings.
Dr. Santosh has expressed his gratitude and excitement on wanting to help the children of Baan Unrak more in the future. Sandy Kumar, Counseling Psychologist is trying to arrange to come to Baan Unrak on a monthly basis to establish a trust with some of the children so she can work more closely with them.
Baan Unrak is very grateful to be able to get this help for the children. With this help they are hoping to help the children build a strong independent character and break the cycle of which they have been born into.