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July 26, 2014


One of our former volunteers, Zoey Hart, was so inspired by her time spent with The SOLD Project that she took activities that she created for the kids to a whole new level and turned her ideas and experiences into a book! Here, Zoey shares her thoughts and  perspective. Please check out her awesome ebook (link below)!


To many, Thailand is known as ‘The Land of Smiles’. The overwhelming generosity, kindness and gentle manner of locals interacting with Western visitors often drives this point home, allowing tourists, students, volunteers and other travelers to return home with albums full of smiling faces and kind eyes.

Such is the case with students at The SOLD Project. It would be incredibly easy for an untrained and uninformed foreigner to encounter any one of Sold’s students and assume that they are all living a happy, healthy and, for all intents and purposes ‘normal’ young life. It was the disconnect between this wonderfully happy demeanor and [for some] the reality of underlying (and often repeating) trauma that inspired me to take action.

Initially, my Western mind was stuck in a bit of a tangle. On the one hand, the Thai ‘let it go’ lifestyle of perseverance might allow some of these children {who have been exposed to abusive or traumatic experiences] to live through their traumas and move forward with their lives. On the other hand, coming from a Western perspective of open expression, communication and emotional processing, the repression [some of] these children must maintain seems incredibly damaging and counter productive to healthy development.

It was in an effort to teach my own familiarity with emotional expression in a culturally sensitive manner that I developed SEE FEEL CREATE, an expressive arts program teaching the tools of emotional recognition and expression through visual art. My hope was that by opening the students to the possibility of expressing themselves on paper, they might develop patterns of emotional learning and recognition to help them process their feelings in a culturally acceptable format.

I’m currently leading the second installation of See Feel Create with the students at SOLD, and seeing their growth over the last two years has been remarkably rewarding. Whereas before, many were hesitant to participate in the strange and analytically demanding art directives, they now seem to understand and accept that my projects will be ‘crazy’, and feel ‘silly’ or ‘strange’. I’ve seen them throw hesitation to the wind and really dig their hands in (quite literally) to the colors and patterns of the world around them.

You can find her ebook here!

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