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My First Gift
During a very Happy Holiday Season for all of us, sharing gifts and food with family and friends, many people are planning to travel around, take vacations, or look for a special gift for their loved ones. However, for a boy named Rojanavit Pornprasit or Noom, a 14-year-old 9th grader at the Baan Takdad School (Ubon Ratchathani Province), he has never had a chance to travel to anyplace, or get a gift from anybody in his life.
“My First Gift”
Although Noom is the only child in the family, he has been brought up by his Grandmother and Grandfather because his mother died when he was born. Noom does not know what exactly was the cause of her death, as nobody talked about his mother again since then. His father is working an impoverished job in Bangkok feeding chickens and rarely comes to see him. Because of hardship, his father can not afford to bring up his only son. The burden then falls on his grandparents who are more than 80 years old now.

Noom has to borrow a bicycle from school and ride 5 kilometers everyday, instead of going to school by bus like other children. It is hard enough just to get by on a day-to-day basis. Noom’s bus fare is therefore out of the question, considering the minimal amount of earnings his grandparents make to survive.

Noom usually gets 5 baht a day to go to school with, but he spoke softly and told us: “Someday when my grandparents don’t have any money to give me, I cannot have lunch. Even though there is free lunch provided at school, it is almost never enough even for the younger primary school kids. So I am ashamed to take the share.” In order to help his grandparents, he would go out fishing at night. If he was lucky, at least he will get some fish for the family’s morning meal.

When Noom occasionally has some free time, he likes to relax by making a wooden bird cage. He has no computer games, internet etc the things most children take for granted these days. This could somehow help him stop thinking about the many problems in his life. “I have no idea about what I want to be in the future. All I know is if it is becoming too much to handle, I will have to quit school and help my grandparents work. They have faced enough hardship already”, he said.

He has never received any gift whether it be for his birthday or for New Year in his short life. When we asked what he would like to get as the first gift in his life, he said “I do not wish for any gift but if possible, I wish for a better life for my grandparents. I wish I could study to a higher level so that I can get a good job like other people and support my grandparents. But I do not know if my wish will come true.

His life is still filled with uncertainties. Today there are over 5,000 poor rural children who have the potency and ability to further their study in secondary school but, with the family’s unfavorable circumstances, are forced to leave school and work in order to get some money to help support their family. As unskilled laborers, they will be prone to exploitation and might become easy victims of human trafficking.

Today, if only you pay a little interest to these children and give them the first gift in their life, this might be the gift that could change their lives forever, and help Noom and other similar children have a Happy New Year.

2010-11-09 | Featured Stories | เปิดอ่าน 5141

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