Through services provided by Holt Sahathai Foundation, Holt’s partner agency in Thailand, a fisherman is able to provide for his family.
Nadej casts his fishing net out into the murky, green water of the Pak Phanang River in the Nakhon si Thammarat district of southern Thailand. On this day, like many others before it, his catch will not yield the income needed to provide for his wife and four young daughters. The family’s home is in disrepair. They don’t have enough to eat, or enough funds to send their daughters to school.
Desperate, Nadej casts his net out once more, hoping for assistance. Praying for an answer.
And then, a helping hand…
The Pakphanang Municipality referred Nadej’s family to Holt Sahathai Foundation (HSF), Holt’s partner agency in Thailand. Through an initial assessment, an HSF social worker discovered the family’s critical state. Caring for the family’s youngest daughter as well as her ill parents, Nadej’s wife, Lawan, was unable to help with the family’s income. Eight individuals lived in a small, dilapidated house with no windows. The four daughters were never taught proper health and hygiene practices. The eldest daughter, 14-year-old Tang, suffered from tooth decay, severely dry skin and lice. Nadej and his wife encouraged the children’s education, but also needed help with household duties. The children rarely attended school. The family lacked in many areas, the HSF social worker observed. What they weren’t lacking in, noted the social worker, was love.
“The family members love and care for each other deeply,” read the HSF family report. “The children try to help the parents reduce their burden. The parents love and accept their daughter who has special needs, always encouraging her.”
Holt International’s goal in the countries we serve is to keep struggling families together. In Thailand, through our work with HSF, we provide counseling and support, income-generating activities appropriate for the community, as well as vocational training and loans to help children attend school. In Thailand today, Holt assists approximately 800 children so that they can remain with their families in Bangkok, and 450 children in Nakhon, where Nadej’s family lives.
Through HSF support, Nadej’s daughters began attending school regularly. Most impressive was the improvements made by Tang. At HSF’s urging, Tang began utilizing her province’s support and networking groups — groups developed by HSF to help small communities support and encourage one another. Members of these social groups teach skills, or help each other create products to sell. Groups have unique titles such as “Kids Love Plants Club.” In this group, participants learn to grow vegetable gardens to expand their family’s diet. Tang is a member of this club as well as the “Fabric for Life Group,” a dressmaking club. Along with providing valuable career-building skills, these social support groups also help promote networking skills. Families become more engaged with their community, relying on one another for support. When one family thrives and exits HSF’s program, they guide other families on how to succeed as well.
Through HSF support, Nadej’s family secured a loan to repair their house. Nadej’s wife obtained a job working at a food shop, and HSF instructed her on how to sell the fish caught by her husband. HSF also trained Nadej and his wife on how to keep the house clean, and their children healthy. Vegetables, planted and grown through the district’s gardening group, provides nutrition for the family. “After school, Tang takes good care of her plants,” says the social worker. “She is a good member of Kids Love Plants Club.” Today, the family is on track, and able to secure a regular income. They have a safe house, nutritious food and education for their children.
And through it all, what bolstered their resolve to succeed… was love.
At Holt, we have the utmost respect and admiration for mothers and fathers like Lawan and Nadej. Parents in bleak situations who fight for their family’s wellbeing. Parents who love and care for their children despite the trials. And parents who stay, no matter how challenging it becomes. It is our mission to help honorable mothers and fathers like Lawan and Nadej provide for their families. Not through handouts, but by providing training, education, support and, of course, prayers — training that helps families for a lifetime, not just the foreseeable future. Education that helps children have brighter futures. Support that prompts social interaction, creating a ripple effect of compassion and prosperity for impoverished families. Prayers that result in God’s blessings on struggling communities in Thailand.
And for Nadej’s family – a turn in the tide, and hope for tomorrow.
Nadej casts out his fishing net, confident that his family is going be okay.
Ashli Keyser | Staff Writer