It is my second week in Chiang Mai as a BABSEACLE intern, and last Friday (10th of July, 2009) was my first time teaching Human Rights and Law by teaching ?English at the Juvenile Detention Center. The lesson we conducted revolved around the different feelings, how to express them and represent them through drawings and facial expressions. I was very much looking forward to the experience – a very privileged opportunity for us to access the center and interact with the girls. The hour in a half of teaching was even more dynamic and interactive than I would ever have imagined, and it was a pleasure to share a few personal anecdotes with the girls. I was amazed by their cooperation and their enthusiasm. The majority of them were very affectionate and keen to learn.
This experience has projected me 4 years back where I remembered my first experience in teaching English at a Cambodian orphanage by Phnom Penh. I had found that same enthusiasm, this eagerness to learn, this same dynamism in the children. At the orphanage, the kids were considerable younger from 4 and 8, rather than 14 or 22 years old. The interaction at the Girl‘s Juvenile Detention Center is very different.
The exchange of thoughts at the JDC is perhaps less playful, and a little more meaningful. My experience in Cambodia was unforgettable, but what I believe we can gain from teaching at the JDC is true human contact with the girls and working to empower them, where we have them reflect on their feelings and thoughts through the teachings, likes, dislikes, etc. Despite the diversity in their levels of English, there was a very high degree of solidarity between them. Those who spoke the language better would assist the others in completing worksheets and in understanding the rules of the games that we had organized for them. After just an hour in a half with them, I was already very keen on coming back the following Monday.