‘Everyone knows that it is vital to take care of one’s health. But I don’t think it’s just about taking care of our lives. We should also be prepared to look out for everyone …every single life. Nursing is about caring and trying to get the patients to be able to smile again’, Yaowalak, a registered nurse of Pai Hospital, Mae Hong Son province, shared her philosophy in working as a nurse—an angel with a white cap.
From a small mountain top, Yaowalak grew up in a bamboo hut roofed with banana leaves, located in a village of Mae Hong Son. Twenty years ago, this remote village where the tribal girl lived in had neither electricity nor water supply. Her parents are Karen who worked as hired hands to provide for as many as 4 daughters. The poverty left the little girl and her sisters starving. On the days without jobs and income, the parents, along with the girls, would go pick vegetables along the stream or catch small crabs and fish in the pond to eat and reduce hunger.
‘Have you ever seen those rosy-cheek girls in scruffy traditional Karen costumes? I was like them when I was young. Some days I did not have anything to eat because my parents did not have any money’, Yaowalak talked about her childhood.
But after a kind sponsor supported her through World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVFT)’s Child Sponsorship Programme in Mae Hong Son Project since she was a primary school student, Yaowalak received constant support in forms of educational necessities, school uniforms, school supplies, and warm clothes. These necessary items helped lessen more than half of her parents’ burdens.
Aside from the support for the little girl, the sponsor’s generosity was also extended to her family and community, transferring almost every household in Yaowalak’s village to become more self-sustainable and, consequently, gain a better quality of life.
‘I was granted an opportunity to have continuous education. I always wished to have higher education, so that I could utilise the knowledge I gained to improve my family’s well-being’, Yaowalak revealed her childhood dream.
Yaowalak studied hard to make her dream come true. After completing high school, her perseverance paid off when she got accepted by the Faculty of Nursing, Chiang Mai University. She was assigned to work at Pai Hospital as a registered nurse right away at her graduation.
Yaowalak smiled happily when talking about her current success: ‘I’ve graduated for half a year now. I got the job as a nurse here right after my graduation. The opportunity granted to me was priceless because it turned an impoverished child into a girl with future and career. I’ll use the knowledge I’ve gained to help as many people as I can. I could have done it to benefit myself; it would have been a good idea. But I would rather choose to do it for others, for my parents. That would be the best way to pay back.’
Yaowalak ended with a delightful smile: ‘My success today is because of my sponsor who was constantly supporting us. Now my family is living better. Thank you’. She reiterated her tenacity in the nursing profession, ‘Though being a nurse may not be the first profession that people think about when they get sick, to me, being a nurse defines my life – the life I’ve earned through a given educational opportunity. Now I have life with a good future. Once a receiver, now I have an opportunity to pay back. I’ll take the opportunity to take better care of my parents, as well as others’.