Bringing the benefits of music to the slums of Thailand

Thailand 1The benefits of music can transform a child’s life. Music can also be a lifeline. In early childhood music classes around the world, music brings light and laughter and joy to children surrounded by poverty and crime and exploitation. Kindermusik educator, Nikol Hellebrandova shares ABC English & Me (an English Language Learning program) with young children in one such place.

Early childhood music in the slums of Thailand

Two times each week Nikol Hellebrandova teaches ABC English & Me to a small group of children between the ages of 4 and 6 at a charity daycare in the slums of Pataya, Thailand. The Hand to Hand nursery school is located in an old business building. The former garage and warehouse area now serve as two classrooms for 60 children. A third room is used to store material, clothes, non-perishable food, and various items distributed to families and others living in the slums.
Thailand 2“Despite the hardships these children encounter each day, they love music class! The lessons are very interactive and the children are really getting into it,” explains Nikol. “They especially love interacting with the orangutan puppet and playing the instruments. In the class, children also enjoy taking turns being the ‘activity leader’ and giving instructions in English for the rest of the class—including me—to follow!”
Since beginning the ABC English & Me classes, children can now answer simple questions, name pictures, and sing the English songs for kids. Although the children can only access the home and classroom materials at school, Nikol also integrates the English vocabulary throughout other parts of the day so children’s English language learning happens naturally and through play.
“Sometimes it is difficult to arrange everything to make a nice learning environment,” confesses Nikol. “I really salute the courage and self-sacrifice of the Hand to Hand staff. They do so much more than run a daycare. They visit and take care of people in the hospitals, in jail, and in the neighborhood by supplying food, clothes, and medicine. In spite of everything, they always find the reasons and the way to enjoy life!”
Thailand 3Hand to Hand works everyday, one child at a time to make a difference to the children living in the slums. Hand to Hand provides a safe place where potentially exploited children can come and play and receive food, clothes, and a sense of worth. Hand to Hand is changing the lives of children.

To learn more about the Hand to Hand Foundation, visit their website.

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