Equipping Children with Essential Skills for the Future
Learning Session with Positive Vibes from the Volunteers
“Clap, Clap Clap, Tap Tap, Clap / Clap Clap Clap, Tap Tap, Clap / Clap Clap Clap, Tap Tap, Clap!
Whoa! Hip, Hip Hip – Po / Whoa-Ho, that’s so big!”
The sound of the drum blends seamlessly with the sound of laughter and applause of the students of Mukdahan Province. The students make sure to sing as loud as they can, shake their bodies energetically and raise their hands as high as possible. Their smiles and laughs are the result of participating in fun activities with Pam (Pimchanok Unchai) and Pang Pond (Wuttikorn Toom-orn), UNICEF’s volunteers from the Volunteer Leader Programme, who had thoroughly prepared and practiced for today’s fun yet educational activity. It has helped bring about joy, while also teaching these children about humour, social skills and confidence. The miracle of recreational activities like these is that they are both educational and entertaining for children who learned to generate ideas, work together and other essential social skills.
Pam and Pang Pond have planned, created and led these recreational activities for more than five years. Both are part of UNICEF’s Volunteer Leader Programme, which encourages volunteer leaders all over Thailand to launch their own activities to make a meaningful change within their communities. So, Pam and Pang Pond were very eager to create activities that could help strengthen the skills of students in four schools from Mukdahan Province in a fun and engaging way. The two volunteers also integrated sports, such as basketball and football, into these activities to develop the students’ abilities to work in a team and support one another.
Pam and Pang Pond confided that there were times when they encountered various obstacles and difficulties in their volunteer work, but with just one look at the children in front of them whenever they were feeling discouraged or tired – and their strength would return. “It’s like the power from within had resurfaced. This made us want to do our best in all of our activities .”, said Pam and Pang Pond. They wanted to give their all in leading their activities and not have any energy leftover because they did not want to have any regrets looking back. For them, being mentally prepared is the most important part of being a volunteer. They also hold true to this value, sharing that, “The mind must be ready. Prepare well. Act well. And go all the way to the end.” The volunteer duo concluded.
However, this time, their volunteer work was unlike ever before. It is their first time holding an event during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, they had to be extra careful. Yet, both Pam and Pang Pond managed all of the activities successfully with support from UNICEF’s staff. The staff advised them about precautionary measures, such as wearing face masks properly, requiring temperature checks before each activity, keeping physical distancing and using alcohol gel. More importantly, they helped motivate Pam and Pang Pond on days when the two felt like giving up, encouraging them to believe that “positive energy really can be passed forward.”
The young volunteers were also trained on children’s rights when carrying out their volunteer work so as to treat all children with respect. From these experiences, Pam and Pang Pond have found that volunteering through the Volunteer Leader Programme has helped them surpass their limits and grow into better leaders for their community.
By volunteering, neither of them expects anything in return. They want to give back, bring joy to their community and make an impact. They understand that through giving, the joy that they receive is vast and priceless. “We are so happy to see that children are happy from our hard work,” they concluded.