The Ngow River flows through the Yao and Pha Mon mountains of the Wiang Kaen district, with a story of a girl that washes them in darkness and sorrow.
Best comes from the Kamu hill tribe. A young impressionable girl who would be fated to lose everything when first her father; and then mother succumbed to HIV/AIDS. Luckily, the Keep Girls Safe project administered by ADRA Thailand would take her away from such heartache.
Under the protection of KGS since 2006 when she was a grade 2 student, things have improved dramatically. She is now even able to go home in the school breaks. At the shelter she performs many house chores such as cooking rice, washing clothes, planting vegetables and more; perhaps a way to erase unpleasant memories and plant fresh ones.
The tale of her past begins with her father; a Laotian; who after marrying her stateless mother, died of HIVAIDS. After her father’s death, Best lived with her mother, who re-married, a Thai man. The husband had a previous child, “Pha”, younger than Beer by three years. It was soon obvious where favour lay and she faced heavy discrimination while living with her mother’s new family. Such hardships only increased with time and when her mother passed away; she was left alone and unwanted in a family who did little to acknowledge her existence. She did not understand why this was happening; and was left yearning for a loving embrace.
Best (right) and a fellow KGS shelter member.
Photograph by Rodolfo Mansalve
If things were tough until this point, they soon became worse. For her stepfather remarried a woman from Laos; packaged with four children of her own. An utterly mystified Best watched on; there was no longer a place for her in this home. She was not a biological child; she was nothing but an eyesore to them. They physically and verbally assaulted her with little reasoning. The scars became much deeper than skin level.
Today, Best is with the KGS project, a warm-hearted foster home that takes care of 27 girls from remote areas who are at high risk of human trafficking. These girls have been through unrelentingly harsh circumstances, often orphaned or homeless. The KGS shelter provides that warm embrace Best was seeking; for all the girls who find their way to them. Best is currently a third year student at a vocational school, majoring in design and she hopes to study Fine Arts at Chiang Mai University or Lanna Rajabhat University. Her talent is to design. She helps design the workshop’s stages including leading a reaction session of a workshop. She sings and plays the guitar and piano with her peers and at church as well. These activities are an inspiration for her to seek a better life for the future.
This summer, she is a volunteer with the Stateless Project. She is enthusiastic to learn and help people who are negatively impacted by being stateless; this is her story as well. Best owns an ID card where the number starts with “0”; the code for a stateless person. She understands the difficulties of being stateless first hand; she is willing to help as much as she possibly can.
Best also takes very good care of the girls who recently moved into the foster home because she knows what it is like being unwanted and depressed; she never wants anyone to feel like this when she can help them.
Best’s life is slowly but surely turning for the better. The Ngow River continues to run through the Yao and Pha Mon mountains. Best, who was once a miserable little girl, has become a strong support to her new family in this imperfect society.
Kindly join us to support Best who has successfully conquered her miserable life.