Sirapon was born in a poor mountain village near the border of Laos. She recently took us to her city to show us how her life used to look for her growing up. It was a disturbing sight. Most houses looked deserted and the streets were covered in trash. We met many young mothers who had given birth to several children, and many of them had never gone to school.
“This could have been me”, says Sirapon. “Had I grown up here, I had either been sent to Bangkok to work on a brothel, or I would have been married living in one of these houses with my many children. I probably would have been addicted to drugs too" continues Sirapon. As a child, she saw her parents smoke opium and she often helped to light the barrel.
Life turned out differently for Sirapon. When she was seven years old, her parents divorced and the father took her away, along with her little brother. They wandered for days looking for a job. They would spend their nights in the strangest places and for a seven year old girl the situation was was terrifying. Neither job or food was in sight and school was not an option. After three years on the road Sirapons dad ended up in prison. That’s when her and her brother came to BaanChivitmai.
It was a big adjustment for Sirapon to come to BaanChivitMai. It wasn't easy finding herself in this new environment, constantly around all the new kids. When she started school, she realized reading and learning came easy for her. She started to realize that she would have a chance to pursue education and she was very focused. Siripon wanted to do something with her life other than just surviving. She was actually one of few who got through all the exams to get into the local gymnasium and later even the Chiang Mai university where she currently studies.
Today Sirapon is 20 years old. She is thoughtful, kind and diligent and the other kids at BannChivitMai look up to her. She has proven that even if life is hard and you hit rock bottom it's never too late to turn it around. A goal she has is to one day travel to and experience another country, to find a job and create stability for her and her future family. She says she is beyond grateful for what BaanChivitMai has given her.