Hope Home, Chiang Mai – I recently spent some time in Chiang Mai, Thailand where I had the opportunity to visit Hope Home to take photos of the children there during a visit by volunteers from Art Relief International. https://hopehomecm.wordpress.com. ARI works to transform the lives of struggling social groups in Chiang Mai, Thailand by offering them the opportunity to express themselves creative
The optimistically named Hope Home is a foster home caring for children with a variety of physical and mental disabilities. Making art with these children, who have a limited range of motion and communication difficulties, gives them a voice. The volunteers visit the house each Wednesday with a new creative workshop for the children to participate in and from their reaction when we arrived, they look forward to these visits and enjoy them a great deal.
Yindee is a seven year old girl with severe cerebral palsy and epilepsy who was born into the Yellow Leaf tribe, a native hill tribe living near Chiang Mai. Due to their nomadic, primitive way of living, she was not receiving the medical and physical care she needed and was not growing properly.
Since living at Hope Home, she has become healthier, spends less time in hospital, and receives personalised physiotherapy for her disabilities. She also still sees her family. She loves to play with hair and a feather boa is often draped around her for her to stroke.
Kame is a two year old girl whose mother signed her over to HopeHome as she could not afford the medicine needed to manage her genetic disorder. The aim of looking after Kame is to have her reunited with her mother and brother as soon as possible.
Although, I only spent two sessions photographing these loving children, I developed an attachment to them and was surprised at how sad I felt that I would not be seeing them again.
Perhaps it was their open, trusting natures, their quirkiness and their vulnerability. It was certainly their charm.