Thailand: education builds hope for refugee student’s future

15 December 2021

As a young refugee in Thailand, Peter has a big dream: to complete his education in order to help younger generations determine their own future. (Jesuit Refugee Service)

Peter* is an 11-year-old boy living in the Ban Mai Nai Soi Refugee Camp, in Northern Thailand. His parents were first brought there in 2007 to escape the ongoing violence of their homeland, Myanmar’s Karenni state, and they have been living there ever since.

Even at his young age, Peter has shown high levels of responsibility and a strong inclination towards teaching. His passion for school is inspired by his love for his parents: “I can feel how much they love me. I love them too and I will take care of both in the same way.”

Peter goes on saying: “That is why I really try my best to do good in my studies, so I can support them. Though we are poor, they don’t fail to teach me good values in life. They always advise me to respect my teachers, as they are my parents in the school.”

Through his family, Peter grew an admiration for his teachers and now aspires to become one: “My teachers are good in teaching, that is why I feel sad when some students don’t respect them. I want to become a good teacher in the future. I want to help the younger generation so they will change and improve their lives.”

In the camp, Peter has dedicated himself fully to his studies. As a Study Group leader, he carries out peer teaching at home, encouraged both by his school and by JRS.

In school, he has won the “student of the year” award multiple times and he takes part in the Education with a Heart program, which encourages pupils to do good in their communities.

I want to become a good teacher in the future. I want to help the younger generation so they will change and improve their lives.

As his mother proudly recounts, Peter implements this spirit in his daily life. After school he does household chores without being told, like fetching water, collecting firewood and cooking.

“I have a big dream for Peter” says his mother with great emotion. “I want him to finish his studies with a good education so he can find a good job later and will have a good life. I don’t want him to suffer like we did. We didn’t have an education, so it is hard also for us to find a job.“

Peter’s mother continues: “I am just happy that my son is getting a good education.” But, she admits, that future is not certain. “My only worry is when he goes to the higher level after high school because there are tuition fees, but we have no source of income. “

After meeting with JRS staff, Peter’s mother was advised to join the JRS Family Friendship Group Meetings, so that she could take part in the Pig Raising Community Project. She will now have access to a small source of income, and she will be able to support Peter’s dream for an education, keeping her son’s hope alive.

*Names have been changed to protect privacy.