I grew up in a country village in one of the very poorest places in Thailand. It seemed like our family was poorer than most of the others in the village. At home we would eat just rice with eggs and a few vegetables with chilies. Maybe once a month we had meat. I had no toys to play with unless I had some paper or some cloth to make my own dolls. My clothes were old and often ripped, needing constant mending. I felt ashamed about being so poor. Sometimes I felt ostracized and isolated because of the poverty that I experienced.
Bawm, my older brother went off to live at Empower Asia’s boys’ home. I wanted to go to their girls' house but when I reached Year 7 I gave up hope and instead became quite naughty. I began cutting class and racing around on motorbikes instead. I figured that my best hope for the future would be to go to study at a low grade vocational training college. At that time my family had problems, my parents were thinking of divorcing. I just seemed so sad all the time. Sometimes I would cry right through the night.
Finally, when I finished Year 9, I was invited to live at Esther House girls' home. I was overjoyed! There was a lot to adjust to because I had to live in quite a strict discipline regime at my new home. Everything was very tidy and neat. But it was also really great. Christmas was the best time because we kids had the chance to perform dances, drama and singing. I found myself becoming increasingly outgoing. Life was great. I had clothes, good food, Christmas and birthday presents. I even had a doll! Living in the Empower Asia community meant that I now had five mothers and three fathers. I felt very warm and happy. In fact I felt very privileged, like a VIP.
When I graduated high school and went to university I had the freedom to choose not to follow the rules that I had adhered to at Esther House. Instead however, I chose to be disciplined while at university. After 5 years I graduated with a degree in teaching science. At the end of 2011 Jamie and I married. We are excited about what we can do in the future together. My life now is so so different to the life of my peers who I grew up with back in my home village. Thank you so much that you support Empower Asia. Your help really does change lives. It changed mine.