August 22, 2014 01:00 By Nila Singkhiri
HIS MAJESTY the King has graciously extended assistance to a 12-year-old girl who has been left to fend for herself over the past several years.
The girl was left to live on her own some nine years ago when her parents, accused of being cursed ghosts, were forced out of their village in Ubon Ratchathani’s Sri Muang Mai district.
The fourth-grader at Baan Kum Ma Nai Rong Khae School managed to get by with help from her neighbours, free school meals and sheer determination to survive.
As soon as her case started making headlines, help from the Palace arrived.
Distorn Vajarodaya, who chairs the Rajaprachanugroh Foundation, yesterday assigned his foundation’s local branch to pick up the girl so she can be put under His Majesty’s patronage. Under this, she will be granted free education to the highest level she can achieve.
The child will start attending classes at Rajaprachanugroh School 32 from Monday.
Village headman Bunleu Sangchompoo told The Nation that about nine years ago several villagers had mysteriously fallen ill and died. Later, when a shaman was called to look into the goings-on, he claimed that the girl’s father was a ghost and demanded that he leave the village immediately.
The girl’s parents left that very night, dropping their three-year-old off at a house where she now lives, he said. The house she lives in was built by the Tambon Na Lern Administrative Organisation.
The youngster said she had to wake up early every morning to clean a local shop and tend to a toddler or an old person in order to earn Bt5 or Bt10 in milk money for school.
While she usually skips breakfast, she is ensured a free lunch at school and is even allowed to take some food home for dinner. The girl said she had been putting aside a few baht for her education.
“I want to be a doctor in a white gown when I grow up,” she said excitedly.
Schoolteacher Chaveenut Pawang said the young girl was quiet, was diligent and always helped her teachers. However, she struggles with her studies.
“She tries to recite lessons and read by herself with a teacher’s help. She keeps trying to look after herself and doesn’t ask for anybody’s assistance. She also volunteers for work so she can earn something to put aside for her education. She has been giving her savings to her teacher to deposit in her Government’s Saving Bank account, which now has some Bt600,” the teacher said.
School director Srimoon Chuysuk is calling on people who would like to help to contact him via (089) 284 9860 at any time.
On Tuesday, Ubon Ratchathani Governor Serm Chainarong presented the girl with Bt6,000 in assistance money. The child will be put under the care of a youth and family welfare agency for an adjustment period before she is sent to Rajaprachanugroh School 32.