“I want to work in a night club like my auntie when I grow up.”
I can remember vividly Meekah’s smiling face as she proudly told us her life dream. Meekah was barely eight years old at the time. That was three years ago.
It’s not difficult to understand why Meekah would want the kind of life she thinks her auntie leads. Her own mother usually seems disinterested in her. When we’ve visited Meekah’s mom to talk about some of the activities her daughter is involved in at our learning center, she seems unconcerned about her daughter’s education or emotional development. But when Meekah’s auntie comes to visit once a year, she brings gifts for Meekah. To Meekah, her auntie looks very glamorous. Completely innocent and unaware of the reality behind her auntie’s lifestyle, Meekah longs for the visible trappings of her auntie’s life. She doesn’t understand that her auntie’s life choices were guided by her poor scholastic achievement and pretty face. Stuck in the poverty cycle that plagues the rural communities of northeast Thailand, Meekah’s auntie chose a path out that many poor, uneducated young women choose.
Recently, we asked Meekah again, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“Teacher, I want to be a hotel owner. I will be able to make money and have my own business. Also, I will be able to speak English with foreigners who come to visit Thailand.”
We are starting to see how the past three years of English teaching, math tutoring, and other educational development projects we’ve implemented have made a major impact on our students’ outlook on life. And we believe that, for Meekah, our ministry has helped to set her on a better path. Consistency and structure, genuine care, and modeling positive behaviors are all part of the educational and social development we offer community children here in Thailand. And the education we provide helps protect the children, especially young girls like Meekah, from getting trapped by poor life choices.
Thailand is an amazing country with a rich cultural heritage. Yet, under the glow of neon lights and in dark alleys, many girls live in bondage because they or their families believe they have no other options in life. These girls overwhelmingly come from the poorest communities in Thailand, communities just like the one where we have established our creative learning center.
Long ago, the prophet Isaiah admonished God’s people to “Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.” (Isaiah 1:17 NLT) Isaiah observed that the religious practices taking place in God’s temple were hollow because they failed to direct the hearts of the people toward the thing that was most near to the heart of God—providing for and protecting the most vulnerable members of society.
With your support, we can help the children—especially the young girls—in our community escape the cycle of poverty, a cycle fueled by a lack of education that so often leads them to dark places. We can help guide them toward greener pastures and life-giving streams. We can help them see that there is a God who loves them and wants the best for them in this life and for eternity.
We invite you to invest in the futures of the children and families we serve here in Thailand by making a pledge of support to our ministry to reach the unreached Isan people of northeast Thailand.