Prathana Jumpamanee, (Pin) sponsorship.
Hello, my name is Miss Prathana Jumpamanee, (Pin).
I am the fortunate recipient of an education sponsorship from the Wilai Foundation.
I am a Thai national with Dara-Ang ethnicity. The Dara-Ang or Palaung originate from Burma and are the most recent of the hill tribes to migrate to northern Thailand. Our religion is a combination of Buddhism and Animism.
I am 16 years old and I live in the province of Chiang Mai. I attend the Fang Chnupathum School and am in grade 10 (with a grade point average of 3.48). There is only one more year before I graduate. Every evening I now teach English at a community youth centre for children in my village to help my mother with household expenses. The pay is about 1,500 baht per month (AUD $70). The combined income of my family is about 6,000 baht per month (AUD $275).
My biological father was jailed for life when I was just four years old. I was little at the time and knew nothing. My mother brought me to see my father at the police station and I asked him, “When will you be back home? I miss you so much. Let’s go home”. He bent his head and said, “I can’t get back home right now as I have to build a house for the police. I haven’t finished it. I’ll get back home as soon as I finish it. You can wait for me there”. I was too young to understand that it was all a lie.
My mother and I struggled to make ends meet without my father. I can remember that my mother sold everything in our house to get money for all the expenses. We both had a hard life until I was seven. My mother remarried and I hoped for a better life.
When I was 12 years old, my mother gave birth to my sister. I was so happy about it, but that happiness came with worry – I was afraid that my mother and grandparents wouldn’t love me anymore.
I had to work much harder as I had to help my mother earn money to buy milk and to pay for my own school expenses. I worked as a potato picker and got paid 160 baht a day at that time (AUD $7.20). I have had to work to get money for school from then until now. Recently, my step-father had an accident and broke his leg. My mother used to ask me to leave school to help her with work because she has no one to help her, only my 70-year-old grandmother. She wants me to go and work in Chiang Mai, so that I can help with my step-father’s medical expenses. He is stateless and doesn’t have a healthcare card.
Life is difficult as we have to pay a lot each time we have a doctor visit. My own earnings also go towards educating my young sister, often there is not enough money for me to attend school too.
The sponsorship of the Wilai Foundation to support my completion of schooling is invaluable to me. It means that I don’t have to worry about having earned enough at my part-time job to pay all expenses. It means that I am able to pay for tuition fees, school supplies and stationery, uniforms and shoes, bus fares and breakfasts/lunches.
This will enable me to concentrate on my studies with a view to graduating with excellent grades. It will then be my duty to support my family in a well-paid job.
As a member of the Wilai Foundation, the scholarship will also help me to reach many stateless people through my leadership position, with TLSDF. I am volunteering with a team of other youth to educate fellow students on how to obtain citizenship.
Thank you very much for the opportunities your sponsorship will provide me. And especially for the chance to wear new skirt, shoes and sport uniform to school, just like a normal child. I am very grateful.