Memorable workshop for children in a church

The National Danish Performance Team visited a church that houses children of migrant workers from Cambodia. The children live in the church while their parents work on construction sites in Thailand. For the gymnasts, it was a particularly meaningful workshop.

Small heads of curious and shy children were looking out from behind a folding table in a small courtyard. The kids are excited. It is not every day that they get a visit by a Danish gymnastics team that are there to play with them. Some of the children are orphans, others have one or two parents that they rarely see as they are migrant workers from Cambodia. Therefore, the children live in a church, which functions as a home and a school for the children. Today they have a visit from the National Danish Performance Team, who will be having workshops with them.

It was very meaningful to visit the church and children. I could feel that the kids were very grateful for the time we spent. It meant something that they experienced something completely different from what they are used to,” says Dinne Fredslund Andersen, Choreographer at the National Danish Performance Team.

The oldest of the children had found instruments that they played on, while the younger children sang along to a welcome song for the gymnasts. The church that forms the temporary home for the children is called In Christ Church International Worldwide. It is a collaboration between the church and the association "Construction of Hope", which has made it possible for the children to live in the church. “Construction of Hope” helps children whose parents or other family members have come to Thailand to find work, usually on construction sites. Through “Construction of Hope” the children have a safe base and are ensured schooling and help to get on well in life.

"It was very life-affirming to see how the children took responsibility for each other. Regardless of age, the children took care of those who were younger than themselves,” says Mikkel Blicher Matthiesen, gymnast on the National Danish Performance Team.

After the welcome, the gymnasts engaged the children in workshops where they were being active and playing with each other. Only the oldest children understood English, and therefore the gymnasts communicated with body language - something they are now experts in.

Impulsive visit
The visit to the church became possible by coincidence. A Dane who came to the National Danish Performance Team's pop-up show had a conversation with Team Manager Bie Andersen. When the Dane heard that the team was staying in Thailand for a bit longer than planned, he suggested that they visit the church, which he knew of through a colleague who is active in the association "Construction of Hope".

"It was luck in misfortune. We had a gap in the program because we were going to be in Thailand for a longer time than originally planned. It was fantastic that we got the chance to do something so significant for everyone,” says Bie Andersen, Team Manager at National Danish Performance Team.

The gymnasts' visit to Thailand was extended due to coronary restrictions, and while the gymnasts waited to continue their journey, they had time in the calendar for impulsive visits like this. The day ended with a mini-show for the kids followed by a longer farewell session.

"The children could hardly bear their gratitude. They gave us letters they had made with our names on. The joy feels very sincere, and it was great to experience,” says Mikkel Blicher Matthiesen, gymnast on the National Danish Performance Team.