Bamboo Classroom/Therapy-Playspace for Special Kids…
The wider-angle of this project is to develop an inclusive community model which enhances quality-of-life, social participation and enables collaborative contribution for people with disabilities and their families.
Together with local Disability Foundation Matahari Terbit we are developing a social program focused on developing activities for our Special Kids program. Our aim is to enable kids with special needs to be assisted by volunteers (similar to Camp Hill communities) through activities where they can have meaningful social relationships and interactions on a daily basis and be part of a quality living environment and contribute in their own Special way.
We aim to develop an inclusive post-school village environment around “kids” with special needs (local and international), their families, local families and the broader international community of artists and travellers seeking places and spaces to develop their skills and contribute to living in Community.
Currently activities are focused around the learning program at Sunrise School as we are still completing the building of the bamboo house as a complimentary aspect to host visiting families.
International Families with Special Kids can join us also. If you would like to know more, please CONTACT US and sign up for our monthly newsletter.
A local family from Singaraja joined us in October last year via Putu (Bali Street Kids Project next door) who asked if I had any work available for the father. Their child Kadek hadn’t attended school for 4 years (now 9 years old) due to his “super” activity. They have arrived in Denpasar to try and find therapy and a school which he can access. I didn’t have budget for any employees the time but shortly after our conversation, I received an inquiry from some international students wanting to help a local group/organisation as part of their University curriculum. So we met together and came up with an idea to employ Kadek’s dad to make a bamboo product (Christmas Stars), sell them and to give the proceeds towards financing school/therapy for Kadek… We also hosted some Community Days where the public could come and learn the crafting side of making stars with bamboo.
So Kadek starting joining us at the bamboo house every day while his father made the bintang (stars) and it was quite interesting having him here… my time was practically totally consumed by getting to know him and keep him occupied so his father could work.
This presented challenges for me but was also fun and rewarding…
After one month and the parents still not finding a school successfully, Kadek continued coming to the bamboo house with his Dad. However, moving into a phase of needing to complete work on the house, I was unable to sustain monitoring Kadek AND getting any work done. So I am now looking for other families who would like to join some afternoon activities at the bamboo house with Kadek so he can have a group of peers… and support staff/ supervision can be afforded. Kadek is great on the tools and I can see his focus and motivation come out when we work with bamboo. Also certain tools that can be used safely are effective as “rewards”.
Kadek’s parents have now found him a school in Denpasar which he can start attending in June (soon!) for a half-day program. I am organising to have afternoon bamboo and recycling activities for kids here for him to join with a support staff.
I would say that Kadek has ADHD in terms of his super-activity though he doesn’t have an official diagnosis that I’m aware of. Kadek has little speech/vocab (neither did Albert Einstein mind you). He currently takes medication to “slow him down” though I did witness him after a week of being off medication when he first joined us (as we were told he should be off medication to start therapy as it “dulls” the person. And yes, I saw an energetic ball of laughter not suitable for a “classroom”.
Kadek is a kinesthetic learner and finds the sanding machine hysterically funny (never a dull moment with this kid)… and enjoys revving it and placing it on its side on a certain angle that makes it bounce/vibrate against the floor and produces what most people would term “an irritating sound” (which also scratches the floor but we’re not too precious about that). Also he figured out very fast how to make “fart” sounds with the blower on the air-compressor. When I try to work, he unplugs my tool from the power source and I just have to constantly chase him and “herd” him towards what I can guide him to do to but he always wants to defy my method. So I take the tools away and try to just use them as a reward when he’s been “amiable”.
Kadek has started therapy sessions at the Sunrise School once a week but at the moment is back in Singaraja as his mum is sick with suspected Dengue.
Come and help us to build our disability-accessable classroom and therapy play and social space for Freyr and her friends: WhatsApp Natalie: +62 812 3790 6885 for more information.
Location: Freyr’s Bamboo Home, Gunung Payung, gang Tunjung II no.5
(behind Bali Street Kids Project).
Check out our Instagram to see where things are up to.
And please consider donating to our Crowdfunding Campaign directly to help further this project.