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2 July 2012

An inside look into Doi Song Kaew trip with sponsors (read in thai)

“After I talked to Ms Tai on the phone, I felt that there was still enough room for me. And traveling alone was not a problem, I was only being too concerned,” Ms Pui spoke in a free-and-easy manner. Pui is spending her vacation days this year to visit Doi Song Kaew in Nan province to meet the person that she has long wanted to see.

We left Bangkok early in the morning with a light drizzle. We drove on the Vibhavadi-Rangsit Road, stopped for breakfast in Singburi, passed Chainat, came close to Uthai Thani and entered Nakhon Sawan, Pichit. It was almost noon time then and we stopped for lunch in Phitsanulok. With full stomachs, we continued our journey until we reached Nan, Ta Wang Pa and Pua district where we checked into a hotel. We are to continue our journey the next morning we are still a long way off. World Vision usually sets up projects in remote rural areas where real needs are present but services are inaccessible.

On the first day, Ms Pui and Ms Nong, who became friends at this Imjai trip, and other sponsors visited Samakom Payaban Thai School. They provided lunch and ice cream and distributed milk, sweets and school supplies to over 400 children in the school. The group of sponsors spent the afternoon painting long tables and chairs in the newly renovated school dining hall. Others installed tiles on sinks that children use as washing area and to brush their teeth. WVFT through Ban Tham Wiang Khae ADP actively supports the school.

We visited various livelihood groups on the second day. We stopped to admire dik-diem trees as we drove towards Narai Luang sub-district where we observed snacks processing of pumpkin and taro rice crackers. Ms Amonsi Ninkong explained that each of the 18 members bought shares at Baht 200 and the group received equipment support from WVFT. They have been able to save up their income for three months now since they started operations in March 2012. They also expect to receive their dividends at the end of the year.

The broomstick livelihood group in Ban Sob Pang received special attention because of good quality and reasonable selling price. Ms Nong and many others bought dozens to bring back to Bangkok. We also visited a water filtration facility which was installed for the village. According to the village headman, around10 percent of children and adults became sick with calculus present in their drinking water. The villagers have high hopes that this problem will be completely solved when every household has clean water to use. We also stopped at Ban Pang Kom School. The school has only 70 Thai Lue students from kindergarten level to Grade six. WVFT provided 51 hens for an egg-raising project in the school as part of their Lunch Programme so the children would have eggs to eat for lunch. Teacher Sudtida Tepkom said that the children's nutrition has improved in just barely a year of egg farming. WVFT also installed a water filter for the children to drink.

Ms Tai grouped the sponsors according to geographical locations of the children's home to visit. "Ms Nong's sponsored child and mine live in the same village. We got into the same van with Ms Pui and Jeung. The other two vans went off separately with several sponsors to visit their sponsored children in Yod sub-district. We needed a four-wheeled car as the road to the village was rough.

Sponsors' impressions

Ms Sunanta Siraprapa or Pui sponsors four children. She sponsors Noppadon since he was in Grade 2. Noppadon, who wants to be a policeman someday, is now in Grade 8. “I'm single and I don't have much burden. I planned to retire in 2 years but after meeting Noppadon, I decided to continue working. I will support him for seven years more until he completes his Bachelor's Degree,” says Ms. Pui.

Chidchanok Uppatam also known as Ms Nong has her own business in Sri Racha, Chonburi. She sponsors Pon. She has been consistently sponsoring Pon for 10 years and had long wanted to meet Pon and his family. “Pon comes from a poor family and I wanted to give him an opportunity complete his education like I had. I will not stop sponsoring the boy until he finishes a degree.” Pon was touched and said, “I want to get a degree and get a job to support my parents.”

Pannarai Cheupiboon or Ms Pui is Min's sponsor. She was happy to meet Min at her home. Ms Pui found out that Min's mother passed away and that her father has a new family. She now lives with her grandmother. “I don't have anything to repay auntie Pui's kindness to me. I will be a good girl, obey my teachers and my grandmother. By being good and obedient is my gift to auntie Pui," says Min which made Pui really glad.”

“If Min wants to study, I will sponsor her through whatever level. Her village looks safe. I would want her to come back to work here and develop her hometown then help other kids.” Ms Pui does not want anything in return from Min. “It is enough that the child grows up and can take care of herself and not cause any problem in society,” she said. “World Vision looks after the children well and regularly sends us feedback including school reports. They also help the children's community which is a good ministry.”