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Donate for Children's Day

 Childrens day donate
13 Jan 2018
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20% discount for returning volunteers

“A great human revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and, further, can even enable a change in the destiny of all humankind.”

Stefanie-Richardson1To meet one person that touches your heart in a special way is a rare thing to find. As indoor teaching volunteers, we are given special opportunities to take our skills into local villages for an extended period of time. During my time here at the Mirror Foundation, I was fortunate to meet a man that truly impacted my volunteer experience. He goes by the name of Tom Karen (Sakkawwah Sommuang) and runs the Tom Karen’s Center for a small Karen hill tribe village in Doi Luang, called Baan Huai Sak.

This particular excursion was extra special because Tom had never had volunteers to his Center to teach English before. From the minute he picked us up from the foundation, his excitement and his eagerness to ask questions shone. I felt blessed to be one the first volunteers exposed to his students. Currently, he is running a summer program where the kids arrive around eight and participate in English lessons, activities, and a home cooked lunch by his wife, Mod, who is equally as lovely. It amazed me how keen the students all were get to the Center, and learn a different language. It makes for a much more rewarding experience when you know that each and every day, you have made a foreign language that much easier for them to learn through song, game, or written lessons.

On the first day, we were picked up by Tom, his wife Mod, and daughters Guitar and Minnie. We made a few pit stops on the way to pick up school supplies and local produce for our first meal. Tom’s English ability is quite impressive and he had the confidence to carry on a conversation and ask for help when needed. Having that skill will be such an asset to his students so that when volunteers aren’t present, he can carry on the lessons previously taught.

Over the three days at the Centre, I got to know all 43 of the students by name, level and had the opportunity to teach both primary and secondary. The main focus of this visit was to continue with conversational English and phrases that would be beneficial towards an introduction. The secondary students had a previous understanding of colours, numbers, seasons and simple greetings. We wanted to advance their introduction so we taught nouns, verbs and adjectives as well as past, present and future tense. With this lesson, we were able to add “What are you doing today,” to their introduction speech. The key to understanding is repetition and writing everything down for future reference. Practice makes perfect!

Not only was I able to get to know and love the pupils of the classroom, but I was able to see deeper into the mind of Tom Karen and find a unique respect. Every day and every moment Tom spends, is dedicated into enhancing the knowledge and lives of others. I had the chance to sit down and ask Tom about his goals for the Center. He explained to me the importance of support and the gratitude he has felt so far from the donations, and the initial volunteers who helped build the structure and floors of the classrooms. Tom strongly feels that if you give your help and kindness to others, that it will return in some blissful way. This perspective of life is what makes this Center such a positive environment to be in, as we are all in it together. In the next few years, he wants to expand the Center so that it is equipped with dorms for volunteers, windows, proper tables, chairs and more stationary supplies for everyday learning.

Aside from teaching, we had evenings to ask questions, explore the area and even had Tom take us to the Golden Triangle and giant Buddha. Although excited about the English language, he also was thrilled to share his expertise on his country and the landmarks that Thailand had to offer. I had an amazing time, and I feel excited for other volunteers who will get the chance to visit the Tom Karen’s Center.

We only get so many chances in life to do the things we love, and the Tom Karen Center is making it possible for young children to explore new options.

One man, one heart, and a handful of educated children.

Stefanie-Richardson2Stefanie-Richardson3

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