For more than 3 years, ‘Wutthichai’ or ‘Koh’, a young Karen boy, has traveled 9 km on foot, taking about 3 hours, from Sanephong, a Karen village in Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary, Sangkhlaburi district, Kanchanaburi province, wandering about the forest and mountainous routes to go to school and spent his time at the school’s dormitory while schooling.
The extreme hardships the family faces always remind the young boy that no any other means than ‘knowledge’ would get them detached from the ‘poverty’. That is why Koh does not mind the difficulties of his trip to school. Every step he takes is the step of dream. Another inspiration which multiplies his determination in studies is to fulfill the hope of the mother who wishes her kid to be educated.
“It has been quite difficult as the family’s income has not met the expenses.” Me Tong Po, Koh’s mother, elaborated on the family’s burdens on her shoulders alone as her husband is not healthy and constantly gets sick. She said that most of the vegetables and fruits around the house are grown for their own consumption. Some surplus of the produce, yet not a lot, is sold to generate income. If it is not enough, they need to find general labor jobs to get paid. Another source of their extra income is from selling areca palms and dried coffee beans to cover household expense and school allowance for the kid. The highest hope of the mother is to have her kid get the highest level of education possible to equip him with the knowledge as his assets to get his life out of the hardship she is in.
Koh and his mother had been struggling with their deprivation in all aspects until he was selected to join “Child Sponsorship Project” in Sangkhlaburi Development Area Program under support of World Vision Foundation of Thailand. It has not only given the young boy with opportunities to have continuous support on educational necessities, but also improved his family’s well-being.
“I’m so glad to see my kid go to school and have a school uniform, shoes and a school backpack to carry books to school. This has greatly helped lessen the family’s burdens,” Me Tong Po said in a relief. Besides receiving educational necessities, Koh has also participated in various activities held by WVFT, including the family bonding camp, which better strengthens the love and relationship between Koh and his mother. He has also joined the field trip and met with his generous sponsor who has just sent a bicycle as his birthday gift. His family has been supported with a mushroom cultivation house to secure a household food source.
Now Koh is in grade 9 at Ban Kongmongtha School. At the semester end, his next step is another level of challenge with the farther distance to pursue the upper secondary education at Udomsitthisuksa School located at the heart of Sangkhlaburi district.
“I would like to thank my sponsor for the kindness and the support for me. I’ll work hard and pay attention to studies for the better future,” promised Koh.