Before I say anything, please watch the following video:
If you don’t have even the smallest lump in your throat right now, there is something seriously wrong with you. This video is actually a commercial for a Thai insurance company. Regardless of what you think about the motivations behind such heart string tugging, think about the deeper meaning. This video was shot at the Srisangwan School for the Disabled in Northeast Thailand. Here is a description of the school being quotes on many websites:
Sri Sangwan Khon Kaen is the only school for children with physical
disabilities in North-east Thailand, the poorest and most populous
region in the country. Yui and I have worked with the school for some
time and most of this video is about a visit by 3 Bangkok flower
artists who volunteered their time to teach the kids some of their
skills. This originally was used as part of a grant proposal to the
local government to increase vocational training at the school – but
academics are strongly stressed as well.
This video has made the rounds and become something of a sensation. YouTube put it on their “BestOfYTChannel” and the Thailand press has grabbed hold of it.
I do know that Thai culture has some issues dealing with the disabled, as do many Asian countries. I saw quite a bit of it during my trips to Japan. I would prefer, however, to not comment on how disabled people are treated in other countries. Here in the US we do a pretty good job but certainly could do better. What I hope you will walk away with is how strong these children truly are. They face challenges that on our best days would reduce most of us to tears, and yet they do so with a “whatever happens, happens” attitude.
Unfortunately, I came across several negative, backlash comments from people regarding this video. Everything from “It’s an insurance company using the disabled for their own purposes” to “Is it really them singing” to “I don’t see what’s so cute about it.” To those of you who completely miss the point, I say shame on you! This isn’t about insurance companies or media manipulation, it’s about the kids.
I have just begun the process of trying to get more information about the school to see if there is anything that can be done to help. I will, of course post any information I can find. In the meantime, take some time – especially as the holiday seasons approach us – and be inspired by the smiling faces. Here are two more videos about activities at the Srisangwan School: