Malinee Silasa-ard, or Plai, unfortunately falls into the latter case. She is currently in Grade 6 in Ban Nongtana School in Loi province. Her parents divorced when she was very young, too young to remember anything. They left her in the care of her grandfather and have never come back again since. So her grandfather has always been the person she refers to as “father.” She is suffering from a kind of chronic infection in the abdominal cavity and has undergone several operations as a result. Her grandfather is the family breadwinner, working as a farmer and hired worker. Sadly, on the day that we visited her, her grandfather was taken to the hospital after having fallen out of a tractor and being run over by the accidentally unmanned machine.
Having learned about the accident, she said in tears, “I don’t know if I can still continue my schooling now that my father’s future is uncertain. He might be able to get back to normal, but he might not. I don’t know where my parents are. So he is the only one I have left.”
“Her grandfather mainly works in the field. But the past few years, there hasn’t been much rain so the yield has been disappointing. He had to borrow money from a bank and the village funds so he can continue to invest. Now nobody knows what will become of him after the accident. Plai’s future is rather worrying. Because of several operations, she cannot hire herself out to do labor work. She can only earn a living by doing simple chores and picking vegetables,” her homeroom teacher told us.
She dreams about being able to carry on studying to a higher level so that she can take good care of her grandfather, letting him live in comfort. But on the day that we met her, there was not a glimpse of hope in her eyes. Now, we still have time to help fulfill the children’s wishes. There are at least 1,021 students out there who we know lead a similar near-hopeless life as Plai. An educational opportunity you are willing to give to these children could help change their lives in ways that you might not be able to imagine.