Hi, this is Sandy. I am here again to share about my time and work with the children at Baan Unrak this month.
Luckily, I have the privilege of meeting so many amazing people with whom to share the amazing work Didi, the staff and volunteers are doing for the children at Baan Unrak.
Last year we discussed the aspects of self-discovery with high school children. This year, Didi and I sat down and decided that we should give a similar workshop to the children in middle school and early high school years.
The workshop will take place over a number of months, each month we will conduct workshops on different topics and this time it was about puberty, reproduction and related infections and illnesses, dealing with pressure from peers, boyfriend/girlfriend and more. It is conducted separately for girls and boys. This is purposely arranged to encourage children to ask questions.
We started with some ground rules and ensured everyone that this was a safe space. I normalized talking about puberty, intimacy and prevention by explaining to everyone that every person to their left and right, inside and outside this home, all the volunteers who come here and everyone they will meet in their lives will go or have gone through these changes. It is a normal and a very natural human process and it is encouraged that everyone asks questions, no matter how small or how silly it sounds.
Some children shared that they had learned this topic at school and some had not. They were attentive and showed genuine interest throughout the day. They were not shy to share and ask questions. They have noticed their bodies changing. They have boyfriends or girlfriends now. They don’t like the body odor that comes with puberty. Why are their bodies ready to reproduce so early? The difference between protection for male-female couples and same-gender couples and a lot of questions about prevention of diseases and illnesses. They also had a very heated argument amongst themselves about the appropriate age to get married. It was such a pleasure to have such an amazing audience.
The positive effect of these workshops result in many different ways. Often times children, either alone or in a group would come up to me and ask me questions. Some have even asked me at what time they can sit and talk to me privately about their anxiety which give them sleepless nights, or feeling sad from misunderstandings with friends. I expect future workshops to result in the same positive curiosity.
There are many interesting workshops coming up this year so stay tuned!!
And… a Special Treat
I know how much the children of Baan Unrak love the vegetarian burgers from Baan Unrak Cafe and Restaurant.
More and more people are happy to contribute to this treat, so during my visits and workshops at Baan Unrak, I always try to make sure that they are rewarded.
The children were thrilled as they got to enjoy the delicious vegetarian hamburgers, ice cream and snacks in January and again in February. We would like to thank our kind hearted sponsors who made this happen: Atikrit Chanjavanakul and family, Joe Baker, Viren Tiwari, Jennie Williams and Lauren Buyskes for their generous sponsorship.
After the delicious meal, the children even challenged Jennie and Lauren to some friendly table tennis and card games!