Making Masks at SAW
“Nobel, please help me, how do you say ‘a little’ in Burmese?” was my frantic question as I tried to stop a little boy pouring a whole bag of glitter onto his animal mask.
Just two weeks after being offered the job of Programme Co-ordinator for Room to Grow, I found myself here in Mae Sot, surrounded by a group of primary school aged children from SAW Safe House laughing and smiling and chattering away at me in Burmese as they decorated their masks with glitter, sequins and feathers sent by a UK sponsor. The children were so happy doing the craft activity and showing off their creations (so much more artistic than our own example!) and asked us if we could make masks again tomorrow.
The most enjoyable part of my training so far has certainly been visiting Room to Grow’s partners here in Mae Sot – singing, dancing and drawing with the kids, having lunch and chatting with the teachers and caregivers and seeing what a difference R2G programmes are having on the ground. Things like school dinners, nursery snacks or play sessions are often taken for granted by us in the West – but not for these children. And these are children who need this more than most.
One of the saddest moments this week was hearing the stories of some of the children supported by R2G. Children who’ve cared for their dying parents, only to be left orphaned, children who’ve experienced abuse, suffering and loss more than anyone should have to, and all before the age of 10.
Yet I’ve also seen and heard about so many positive things that are happening – children laughing and playing, wanting to hold my hands and dance with me, teachers proudly showing off their mushroom huts and telling me about the food and supplies they’ve been able to buy for the children with their profits. Room to Grow is doing a lot of great work here, and I’m excited about being part of it!