Augustine Moo, 8, was born with cleft lip, leaving his parents in a tough situation to handle while raising four other children in very basic circumstances in the Thai temporary shelter camp where the Burmese family found shelter ten years ago. Augustine was a shy and insecure boy. That is, until he met Humanity & Inclusion.
Due to his lip, Augustine had difficulties communicating. For many years, he was mocked by other children and felt isolated and lonely. The teasing got better after Augustine’s surgery, but what really helped was his participation in the Growing Together children’s club, organized by Humanity & Inclusion. “In that club, Augustine developed communicative skills and learned how to engage in relationships with other children”, says his mother Ree Mah. Today, he is more confident which has made a positive impact on his friendships. Since starting the club, he has made some good friends. “So far, only boys,” Augustine adds, smiling shyly. “Sometimes I don’t know how to behave among all those girls.”
Attending the Growing Together club has also had a big impact on his schooling. “Because of his isolation, Augustine wasn’t motivated at school, but now he’s more confident and really keen to perform well and catch up. I’m home tutoring him and now he’s the third best student of his class,” says his proud mother.
Growing Together Project
Growing Together is a four-year project in Thailand, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, and is funded by the IKEA Foundation. Humanity & Inclusion is creating inclusive spaces where children can come together–through play–to work through some of the challenges they face, especially children with disabilities. In addition to inclusive playgrounds, Growing Together will target the youngest children who are at risk of developmental problems. Simultaneously, the program will engage local child development service providers and help them become more responsive to the needs of boys and girls with disabilities and other vulnerable children. Learn more about the partnership.