Keng, 21, was arrested and sent to Ban Karnchanapisek Juvenile Detention Centre last year. He had never touched a camera before and didn't know how to use one. But at the centre he studied photography, graphic design and how to make short movies.
Thicha Na Nakorn, director of Ban Karnchanapisek Juvenile Detention, and youths who passed the computer training course.
The five-day course allowed him to learn the basics of photography _ from the right way to handle a camera to the meaning of "depth of field".
"That was my first experience with a camera. Then I studied stop motion animation using Adobe Premiere Pro," said Keng. "I would like to know more about how to be a photographer. Once I leave this place, I hope I can make it my career."
Keng is one of many youngsters from juvenile detention centres who have proved that they are capable of learning IT skills. Thanks to a project under HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn that provides computer training courses for detained youths, almost 100 young people have passed the courses and exhibited their computer-generated works to the public.
HRH Princess Sirindhorn has experience working with underprivileged people, but she has a special concern when it comes to young people.
Some of the works created by youths from juvenile detention centres such as calendars, logo designs, birthday cards and cartoons.
The computer training courses were initiated at Ban Karnchanapisek Juvenile Detention in Nakhon Prathom province, and the results have been promising. The IT project last year expanded to four other detention centres _ Ban Karuna in Samut Prakan, Ban Ubekkha in Bangkok, Ban Bung in Chonburi and Ban Pranee in Nakhon Prathom _ where youths are ready to partake in computer activities and develop their skills through modern technology.
The computer training course at Ban Kanchanapisek was conducted by Asst Prof Boonliang Kaewnaphan of King Mongkut University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT). Three courses cover basic photography and stop-motion production, graphic design and printing, and short movie production.
Each training camp takes five days and after the courses, youngsters have to present their works, such as short movies showing their thoughts, or multimedia pieces such as graphics and print designs.
Activities at the remaining four training centres were handled by the Internet Foundation for the Development of Thailand (Inet Foundation). The 16-week course takes two hours per day and participants practice creating their works two hours a day.
Youths learn to design postcards and calendars with Picture Collage Maker Pro, design letter paper, envelopes and stamps using Inkscape, retouch and edit photos with Glimp and create presentation programmes using Foto2avi.
According to Dr Pairash Thajchayapong, vice-chairman of the Information Technology Project under the Initiative of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, the project aims to impart computer knowledge and skills to youths.
It also promotes the use of IT and the internet to enhance their qualities and capabilities, increasing their educational opportunities as well as employment prospects. Thicha Na Nakorn _ or "Auntie Mon" _ director of Ban Karnchanapisek Juvenile Detention, said that though the training centre there does not have equipment such as film editing tools for doing short movies, this does not limit the the activities. Acharn Boonliang, the instructor at Ban Karnchanapisek, takes participants to nearby universities where they have a chance to use more sophisticated equipment.
"Learning to use the equipment for a few days won't necessarily give the children a new skill, but it gives them an inspiration, a dream, a hope, and encourages them to think about their future. This is better than teaching them for an entire year that you must do good things and must not misbehave," said the director.
"Once they have some interesting experiences, they'll feel that it's not too hard for them and they'll become more energised. Young people who participate in valuable activities will learn to get along in society," she said, adding that youths at the centre develop a sense of purpose and many would like to study at university and probably have a career in the IT field.
Technology is powerful, and sometimes it can also be inspirational.
About the author
- Writer: Sasiwimon Boonruang
Position: Life Writer