Living in a hut with a roof made of grass and eating whatever rice they could grow, Doungjai’s parents struggled to provide for their three children. The family was desperately poor. They lived on the few pesos they got from selling bamboo shoots they found in the forest and whatever extra rice they grew.
It’s rare that anyone breaks out of such extreme poverty in rural Thailand. The discrimination faced by poor, rural, ethnic minorities is as bad as the living conditions. It locks children into lives that generations before them were unable to escape.
If little girls like Doungjai do not end up spending their lives in rice fields like their parents, they have a high probability of entering Thailand’s sex trade.
But one thing changed Doungjai’s life: someone cared. Doungjai entered the Child Sponsorship program through Pearl S. Buck International. She finally had access to nutritious food, healthcare and the supplies she needed so she could go to school.
Child Sponsorship didn’t just help Doungjai. Her family’s life was changed, too.
The staff at Pearl S. Buck International taught Doungjai’s family about nutrition, vegetables and gardening. They started to grow organic pumpkins, peas, cabbage and tomatoes and started raising pigs and chickens. The entire family was finally eating nutritious food.
Now that Doungjai had the uniforms, stationery and other supplies she needed to attend school, she studied hard. She knew that she had received an amazing gift. She knew that Child Sponsorship was her path to a different life.
Her work paid off. After 16 years of faithful support from her Pearl S. Buck International Sponsor, Doungjai graduated in May of 2016 with excellent grades.
Doungjai is now enrolled as a scholarship student in the Bachelors of Nursing Science program at Saint Theresa International College. This private college holds coursework to an international standard of excellence and teaches most classes in English. After four years of college here, Doungjai will graduate as a Registered Nurse and will be a top candidate for employment at any hospital in Thailand.
Poverty is a thief. It sacrifices the long term for the short term. Doungjai’s siblings are now working with their parents in the fields so the family can have a little more income. When they have babies of their own, they will be destined for the same life of poverty and manual labor.
But when Doungjai graduates and starts working as a registered nurse, the chains of poverty will be forever broken—not only for her, but for her descendants. And that is all thanks to one kind person who felt the need to do something for a little girl a half a world away.
Doungjai and her family are forever grateful for the Pearl S. Buck International Child Sponsor who changed their lives.
The world is a better place because of him, too.