That little bit extra
The fourth stop on our journey was a Disabled Children’s Support Facility in Hi Giang. Located in the very north of the country, it was a centre trying to do more to help the wider community. Trying to do ‘that little bit extra’.
It was the smallest centre we had visited so far, providing support for thirty children. Many of these children suffered from learning difficulties and other disabilities such as blindness and deafness.
Made up of a few classrooms, offices, a playground and a small medical centre, this school provided daycare for these children. It aimed to provide care for these children’s specific needs.
However on top of its responsibilities to the disabled children, the school also provided support for the orphans in Ha Giang. This additional commitment placed a strain on the centre’s resources.
Having enough medical supplies to aid its students and the local orphans was an issue for the centre. However the centre was fortunate to have support from the local hospital.
The doctors made frequent visits to the school, and brought medical supplies with them too. During their visit, the doctors would treat injured or ill orphans, and if necessary, they would take the children back to the hospital for treatment if they required more medical attention.
Food supplies were also a concern for the centre as it tried to support local orphans. Outside providing for its own children, it would try to make a difference to the area’s homeless children too. For example on a six month basis, the centre would hold a meal for 120-200 children, finding them and bringing them back to the centre for a good meal.
But the difference the centre could make was limited by its food store levels. To make a continuing difference, the centre was reliant on support from others.
For example a monk from Hanoi had recently donated 400kg of rice to the centre. This had significantly boosted food supplies, and meant the centre could feed a large number of children for two weeks.
The disabled centre also made efforts to try and house the area’s homeless children. Through it’s connections with local families and other orphanages, it would attempt to find potential homes for orphans. Then after potential homes had been set up, it would go out and find children to fill these spaces.
After we had been introduced to the staff and introduced to the facility, it was time to get the clowning going! However as some of these children had hearing and seeing impairments, it meant Sox’s had to do ‘that little bit extra’ too, in his routine.
From the moment Sox’s popped his a head around the corner in his brightly coloured hat and t-shirt, he emphasized all of his actions. He used his actions to communicate the emotions in his act, as well as sounds. With a combinations of actions and tricks (spinning plates, balloon making and diabolo-balancing), he put on a show visually, to ensure the children with hearing difficulties were entertained.
In addition to putting on a show visually, Sox’s created some excitement for the children using audience participation. For the children whose hearing was impair, they had the opportunity to get involved themselves, and see their friends get involved.
For the children who had poor eyesight, audience participation meant the children had the opportunity to touch, feel and use the props. One-on-one interaction from Sox’s meant these children could get involved too.
Throughout his act, Sox put his ‘clown sounds’ (see videos above) to good use to convey emotions, as Sox’s tried to engage the children whose vision was not as good. By using sounds as well (even if it was just the simple sound made by the air rushing out of a balloon), Sox’s tried to take advantage of all the senses, as he tried to make all the children feel involved, laugh and have fun.
Sox’s tried to do a little bit extra in this centre by being conscious of each of the children’s individual needs. This helped all the children to feel involved. It required a little bit of effort and thinking, but made a big difference to some of these children.
Likewise this faculty was a centre trying to do ‘that little bit extra’. Trying to do more than just care for it’s own children, and provide support to local homeless children. Even though it required a little help to do this, the centre was trying its best to make that extra difference too.
It just goes to show how much ‘that little bit extra’ effort can make. Whether it’s an organization trying to donate a significant resource, or one person simply making some time and effort with an individual, it can go a long way to making a difference. Anything extra can make a huge difference to someone else, especially those in need.
No matter the scale, it’s ‘that little bit extra’, which can make the big difference to others.