All children are born equal in dignity and value, no matter if they are poor, disabled, homeless or vulnerable in different aspects. Therefore, World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVFT) prioritises child protection and promotes child participation, aiming to build understanding and raise awareness of the rights children deserve among parents and community members, as well as advocates children to exercise their voices and take part in decisions that affect their lives.
‘Not’ or Supphakit, at 14, though smaller in figure than other kids at his age, is far more advanced in vision, self-assertiveness, power of creativity, and tenacity. These characteristics have foreshadowed his leadership.
‘Not’ has grown up in a Thailand-Cambodia border area in Aranyaprathet district, Sa Kaeo province. He lives with his step-father, mother, an elder brother and a younger sister. His parents are hawkers. They live from hand to mouth, just to earn enough to provide for the whole family. With an opportunity to join Child Sponsorship Programme carried out by World Vision Foundation of Thailand and with the kindness and support from the generous sponsor, the boy has grown up with educational opportunities and life skills development, which have been refining the tiny boy to realise his own values and capacities and to take responsibilities for his own life, as well as for his family and society.
“I’ve joined various activities held by WVFT. For example, in children’s rights training, I’ve leant about different rights of the child, such as the right to development and the right to participation. I’ve also been educated in anti-human trafficking and ending violence against children and participated in training on prevention and solution of the teen mom problem. They are really useful for me and my friends,” explained ‘Not’.
Aside from having been equipped with a range of knowledge provided by WVFT as the shield to safeguard youths against all harms, ‘Not’ has also attended youth leadership skills development training, a key initiative which drives and capacitates him and his peers to be able to protect themselves and other kids and make a better society. Children and youths have had space to play their roles, which motivates them to realise their own values and leads to their desire to do something to benefit their society. After the training, ‘Not’ and his friends have chosen the problems found in their community, which is located along Thailand-Cambodia border. The topic includes the lack of child protection practice, the absence of rights that children deserve and the risk of illicit drug abuse. These issues have been brought to attention through an event to create the awareness of the dangers of drug abuse among their peers.
“My friends and I would like to be part of a protection alliance to keep our fellow brothers and sisters at school and in the community away from the risk of crossing over to the dark world of drug abuse. Before conducting the activities, my friends and I had applied the knowledge and skills gained from the training in planning how to run them and assigned roles and responsibilities for each. Meanwhile, WVFT staff have always been our mentors. They’ve also coordinated with the staff from the sub-district health promotion hospital to be our guest speakers,” the boy elaborated upon his implementation method, before giving a big smile and continued, “I would like to thank my sponsor and WVFT so much for giving me opportunities and experience to achieve learning and self-development and letting me be part of the network to protect my friends.”
Similarly, Wanna, his mother, said happily, “I’m so proud of my son because he’s a good kid. He sets a good example and is always helpful for his friends. At home, he helps me sell goods in the morning before heading to school. In the evening after school, he also helps me sell noodles. He has much alleviated my fatigue. Although I’m tired from the hard work, I’m happy that my kid behaves well. He is a responsible person and can take care of himself. This encourages me to keep fighting for my kid, no matter how exhausted I feel. I thank the sponsor and WVFT for giving my son a better life.”