Because Om has congenital hearing loss, she has spent the 29 years of her life in complete silence. Luckily, both of her children, Ton-or and Trin were born perfect.
Mother Om raises her daughter, Ton-or, and her youngest son, Trin, in a small village in Mueang Pan District, Lampang Province with the help of her mother, Grandma Wat. The father, Khiat, had little choice but to leave the family behind to work as a hired hand in Nakhon Pathom Province. Om and Wat do not have any occupation but only rely on the earning sent back on a monthly basis from Khiat, who now works in a Nakhon Pathom’s pig farm.
When it was about time for Ton-or to start school, Grandma Wat enrolled her in Kindergarten 1 at Hua Mueang Sub-district Childcare Centre, which is not far from home. That was when Ton-or received an opportunity to join World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVFT)’s Child Sponsorship Programme in Mueang Pan Project, Lampang, an intervention to improve the well-being of children in the community.
Because the majority of sponsored children in Mueang Pan Project are in early childhood, WVFT prioritises the implementations that promote children’s appropriate development, focusing on enhancing parents’ knowledge and understanding about proper early childhood care by providing them training that builds awareness of good parenting, child nutrition, and age-appropriate development.
Ton-or’s grandmother has also joined these useful workshops. Grandma Wat has gained knowledge about proper nutrition, child feeding preparation, and nutrient-rich food for children. She has adapted the knowledge in how she takes care of Ton-or and Trin. Grandma Wat has also had opportunities to exchange childcare experiences with other parents when WVFT holds parents meeting at the childcare centre.
‘Ton-or, like other kids, loves everyday egg menus such as boiled eggs as much as the special egg dishes like Chinese steamed eggs. I usually have her help collect eggs laid by the chickens supported by WVFT. From Monday to Friday, Ton-or eats breakfast with her friends at the childcare centre thanks to the breakfast budget supported by WVFT’, said the grandmother.
‘Although this family is not perfect, Wat is a great grandmother. She loves her daughter and never abandons her despite her disability. She also loves her grandchildren dearly and does her best to take care of them. When we visited the family to collect data, we saw that it was necessary to help these children to gain age-appropriate development and educational opportunities. On behalf of a WVFT staff member who has been working closely with this family, I’m so glad to be part of the help to fulfil the life of Ton-or and see her gain good development and educational readiness and become happier. I’m happy to say that, through these two whole years, Ton-or has benefitted by the breakfast project that has fed her every morning at the childcare centre. Today she has proper weight and height and age-appropriate development that get her ready for Kindergarten 3. Ton-or is a cheerful, smart, adorable, and outspoken girl’, said Worawittaya Manmaen, a WVFT staff member.
‘Ton-or is a brilliant and confident girl. She’ll raise her hand right away when I ask the class questions. She’s a responsible person. She turns in whatever work I assigned. Ton-or seems lively and happy to learn with her friends every day,’ Ms Pu, Ton-or’s teacher said with a smile.
Although Ton-or’s parents were born with hearing and speech impairment, the little girl is growing up beautifully with the love of her grandmother, mother, sponsor, teacher, and WVFT staff, who have always made her feel loved and cared.
‘Thank you for your constant assistance. We had received rice and sixteen laying chickens earlier. And recently, a bicycle, storybooks, and toys have been given to Ton-or’, Om communicated with us by using the sign language while smiling. Grandma Wat broke the silence by translating these for us and added with her deepest appreciation: ‘Ton-or is in Kindergarten 3 now. She has moved to study at Ban Kham School. Thank you sponsor so much. I can’t do anything to repay your kindness but only wish you happiness and prosperity’.