Baithuy’s childhood is representative of what most children face in Thailand: poverty, housing insecurity, food insecurity, limited education opportunities, and insufficient access to healthcare. However, with support from the Creative Life Foundation, Baithuy has been able to change her life’s trajectory.
Her parents were both educated until 7th grade, which is quite typical in Thailand. Around the age of twelve, many children are forced to abandon their education to find work. They need to support their families financially, and there is certainly no money left over for school tuition, uniforms, and supplies. Thus begins a long life of trying to string together enough low-paying jobs to make ends meet.
CLF interceded in Baithuy’s case because she met Plar, one of CLF’s mentors, through church. Baithuy first started in CLF’s Saturday English program. After finishing 6th grade, her family was about to pull Baithuy out of school because they could no longer afford the school fees. Plar helped Baithuy apply for and receive funding from CLF for tuition and school supplies. At the time, Baithuy was living with her grandmother because her parents had other young children at home and couldn’t afford to care for her. The poverty Baithuy experienced is indescribable, so CLF’s tuition scholarship was life-changing.
Because of CLF’s support, Baithuy was able to stay in school and balance just one part-time cashier job to supplement her family’s income. Since she was able to focus on school, Baithuy successfully graduated last year. She is now enrolled in university and studying human resource management. She still works part-time but because of the scholarship she receives from CLF, she is not scrambling to finance her education or afford groceries.
Surprisingly, Baithuy says the mentorship and advice she has received from CLF has had the greatest impact on her life throughout the years. One would think it was solely the tuition funds that changed the course of Baithuy’s life, but, in reality, navigating poverty is common in Thailand. It is far more challenging to know whom to turn to for career advice or help with homework because so few in Baithuy’s life have experienced these accomplishments. She is immensely grateful for the tuition she has received, but even more thankful for her mentor, Plar, and the countless hours of professional development, advice, and guidance Baithuy has received over the years.
Rachael Rossi, Ph.D.
CLF Board Secretary