The children come to art class relaxed, in the late afternoon. Before beginning a new project, they prepare with meditation. I ask them to think about their dreams. Once they open their eyes, we encourage them to draw their dreams with just a pencil and paper. They can then move around our spacious living room at Baan Oun Rak and paint their ambitions.
Some kids jump at the chance to express their dreams through art, while others are scared and hesitant. They feel insecure about their dreams on paper. They tear up the paper and start again. Some keep the same page, but aren’t sure what to draw or turn the paper over and start again. One child doesn’t like her own picture. She looks at the paper with a frustrated expression on her face. She stands up and throws her painting into the garbage.
It’s not always easy for the children to be confident in what they dream. Some children have lost their confidence and hope for the future. They don’t know if their dreams can come true.
I ask the children what’s most important to them and why everyone needs a dream. Some kids raise their hands and answer that it’s good to have a goal or to follow a path in life. Dreams allow them to work towards something more, to feel alive, and to build hope for a bright future.
At the end of the art class, the children sing a song with meaningful lyrics: “Because life is alive, we learn and accept it.”
Our children at Baan Oun Rak have many dreams. Here are some examples:
“I dream to be a veterinarian because I want to help animals.”
“I dream to be a dentist because I want to try pulling out teeth.”
“I dream to be a nurse because I want to look after and help patients.”
“I dream to be a surgeon because I want to save lives.”
“I dream to be a traditional Thai dancer because I want to wear the costumea and learn all of the steps.”
“I dream to live happily in my own castle.”
“I dream to be Miss Thailand because I want to win a beauty pageant.”
“I dream to be a model and wear beautiful dresses.”
“I dream to be a fashion designer because I want to make clothes for Barbie dolls.”
I dream to a Fan-repaired mechanism because I like the electrical fan;
“I dream to a fourth grade Thai teacher because I like studying language.”
“I dream to be a computer teacher.”
“I dream to be a princess.”
“I dream to be a taller just like my big sisters.”
Even though the children have lived in sorrow and suffering from past experiences, they still have dreams. If you were to draw your dreams, what would they look like? Please share and support the dreams of these inspiring children.
By Saijai Srilim, Baan Oun Rak resident art therapist