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Without Anyone By My Side
“Aside from poverty, other important obstacles to education in rural areas are family break-ups, separations and divorce and the lack of family warmth which have compounded the issue, causing hundreds and thousands of children to be left without anyone by their side.”
Without Anyone By My Side

After her parents walked their separate ways to build their own new families, Gift, or Piyawan Yensanoh (13), a 7 grader at Chonabot Suksa School, Khon Khaen Province, has since been living with her grandparents, and her 12 year-old sister, and 5 year-old brother. These 5 people reside in a worn-down,half-cement, half-wood home with an old television which seems to be the only electronic appliance they own, a keepsake that provide some consolation for the children when they reminisce on good times in the past.

Gift’s grandfather (80) has been paralyzed from his waist down for several years now. Mrs. Gongriang (77), Gift’s grandmother, has to carry the burden of taking care of the whole family by dyeing cloth, for which she receives a mere daily earning.

Gift’s mother left her and her siblings to remarry 4 years ago - less than a year after having her youngest son. Not long after, her father left, too. Both the father and the mother have never contacted them back - not even a single letter since.

Now, Gift’s grandmother, once the only hope for Gift and her siblings, can no longer dye silk anymore due to the onset of eye cataracts that has blurred her vision. Her grandma can not walk around alone with out her support. Today the 5 lives are sustained only by money received from the pension fund for the elderly and the disabled, totaling 1,000 Baht monthly.

Currently, Gift’s grandmother allots 220 Baht each month as her transportation costs to the secondary school in town. Next year, her little sister will join her in the same school, which means that their monthly transportation costs will double to 440 Baht.

With her two dimmed eyes clouded by tears, Grandma said, “Grandpa and I are very old. I can’t see very well; he can’t walk anymore, and have pain that comes and goes all the time. I am so worried about our 3 grandchildren. I don’t know how long I will be able to take care of them. If I am no longer here, who will be with them? They don’t have parents like everyone else.”

Gift told us that, “Right now I have no one else but Grandpa and Grandma. I love them the most. I wish that I can further my studies so that one day I can work and earn enough money to take care of them. But I don’t know how far I’ll be able to go on, because our family doesn’t have money. If the worst comes to the worst, I will probably quit school to get a job so that my little brothers and sisters can continue studying - instead of me. I feel sorry for my grandparents. They’ve worked hard enough for us.”

Today, aside from the issue of poverty that is preventing children in rural areas from receiving education, family break-ups further contribute to the deterioration of the children’s mental well-being. In rural areas, the once-strong family institution is slowly collapsing, adversely affecting the lives of countless children who have been made orphans, even when their parents are still alive. The hope for a better future is taken away from them as these kids enter the low-skilled labor market years before they are supposed to. Some far worse off, fall victim to human trafficking. They ultimately cannot rise above their poverty line - not only economically, but intellectually - because they lack this one vital “opportunity” to receive adequate and appropriate education. But you can lend a helping hand, even if it is only for one child. Through the EDF, you can give an educational opportunity to rural kids - with no different story, or fate than Gift - so that they can gain access to schooling and food, can walk to school with a smile, and do not feel that their lives are so empty and hopeless anymore.

These little kids are waiting for your helping hands: to protect them and lift them up, and give them the strength to fight through the obstacles in life, with the conviction that they can grow up to be quality citizens who can sustain themselves and bring their families out of poverty.

Gift's family picture (from left to right): Mr. Wing Phetcharat (Gift's grandfather)(80 year old), Wanida Yensanoh (sister)(12 year old), Piyawan Yensanoh (Gift)(13 year old), Thanachok Yensanoh (brother)(5 year old), Mrs. Gongriang Phetcharat (Gift’s grandmother)(77 year old)
2011-01-12 | Featured Stories | เปิดอ่าน 4916

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