Writing Workshop Builds Confidence and Creativity
The newest promotion of PEPY students attended a Short Story and Poetry Workshop in the third week of February at PEPY’s Learning Center, Siem Reap. This workshop was presented by Writing Through, an NGO that encourages conceptual thoughts and critical thinking by conducting writing workshops. In total, there were 34 students involved, and they wrote 10 stories, 38 poetries.
PEPY and Writing Through have been working together for years, collaboratively teaching students to think creatively using their imaginations, then expressing their valued ideas on paper. Jess Blackledge, who facilitated this workshop, said to the students: “you all are very inspired; what you wrote has come from your heart and from the back of your minds. You all are very confident; you read your stories and poems loudly and beautifully. Keep working hard. I can’t wait to see you all in November.”
The 10-hour workshop brought students to engage in a variety of activities such as brainstorming, sharing, writing and discussion. Furthermore, it exposed students to the deeper value in other people’s ideas. On the first day, students started with a big group poem, using the theme of ‘’change.’’ On the second day of the workshop, individual poetry was written in class. With a native English-speaking teacher and a Khmer facilitator, students could learn and write great statements with confidence. Students were also encouraged to use more spiritually minded thinking to imagine a story about using a photo to light their way. They learned how to look deep inside themselves and describe the way they feel. They were assured that there was no possible way to make a misstatement, which made them felt confident to engage more and more.
The workshop ended with the Big Event. The Big Event celebrated after they finished the course in order to give opportunity students to read their poetry and story to their classmates, PEPY staff, and visitor from Writing Through Organization PEPY students confidently read their results with smiling faces. One participant from PEPY, Miss Kim Ann Khlang, was very excited about students ‘experiences: “As a Cambodian facilitator, I am very pleased and feel very honored to see students at PEPY improving every day. They have all done a very great job to break and overcome the barrier of language and culture. I got tears mentally to hear them read their poems confidently and beautifully in front of audiences during the Big Event. ” This is one of the poems written by Kin Tohy, a PEPY student who wants to be a soldier in the future. The title of his poem is “I Think I Can.”
When I was young, I cry
After I cry, I can listen
After I listen, I can see my mother and father
I can walk and run, every day I can.
I can study in school when I was 6 years old
I had a lot of friends
I love, I like, I need my friends
When I meet you, I am happy. I can smile.
I can fly when I have knowledge, like birds have better wings.
I can speak English very well
I can do everything
I can follow my dreams.
Things always happen intentionally; it is important to look at how certain impacts came to be. All great things we have done so far could happen because of the efforts and support at bottom of women and men’s hearts who want to get people to do great things. PEPY would like to acknowledge Robert and Robin Craig, who have supported us physically and mentally. Our appreciation does not necessarily come from what you have donated us financially, but from our successes in improving students ‘lives. These changes could not have come without you.
Partnership is the thing that PEPY is always values most. None of our team members could have run this magical workshop by themselves, and a single Writing Through facilitator may have found it hard to lead this alone too, but together we were able to run the project effectively. Many achievements were made in this just 6 days because of the valuable teamwork we had with the Writing Through team.We would like to give credit to Jess Blackledge, who was a very kind and supportive facilitator in this workshop, and to the whole organization of Writing Through for their support and providing such a wonderful person to work with us. The PEPY team was very amazed and inspired by all the things that we were able to do together.