Thai literacy camp

Sarnelli House takes the education of the children here very seriously. The support comes in many forms, and not only financial. Br. Keng provides great vocational guidance to children leaving Junior High School in helping them to decide what path to choose next. He does the same for the older teenagers going to university or vocational colleges around the country and also helps them to find accommodation. Br. Keng and Ms. Dtim in the office keep a close eye on school and college results coming in and have a word with those children falling a bit behind or others who seem to be struggling with some areas of academic life.

But the focus on education has to start earlier at Sarnelli House. It has become apparent that some of our younger children have problems with reading and writing Thai. A few started school late, others have missed a lot as a result of poor health while a couple have basic learning difficulties. And once a student slips behind in school, the classes will only get harder and harder. Should a child reach the end of grade school without being able to read and write and master basic numeracy, junior high school will be a real struggle for them. So with the help of a donor from Ireland, Vivienne McCutcheon-Hynes from ‘Keep the Dream’, Sarnelli House hired three newly graduated Thai teachers to come for a week and run an in-house Thai literacy tuition camp for 11 of our children. The children were split into three groups, according to ability, and attended classes for three hours every day in the chapel, the clinic and the schoolroom at Sarnelli House for boys. Br. Keng and the staff chose younger teachers as it was hoped that, fresh out of college, they would have high levels of energy and creativity. And so it proved, as the classes were well-organised, fun and practical. All of the children showed some improvement after only five days of classes and most of them were genuinely sad to see Friday come and the sessions come to an end. All of the kids received certificates and prizes for their participation in the course. Hopefully, the classes will have an impact on the children as they return to school this week and they will take some confidence into their new term.

As this pilot programme was such a success, we hope to run a bigger camp during the longer holidays next April & May, perhaps involving some mathematics as well. We would like to thank our three teachers — Mint, Bell & Tew — for their effort and Vivienne, our Irish donor as well.