BANGKOK–Sitting in a plastic chair in a cold quiet room, Nok isn’t eager to share her story. She’s reserved, quiet, and often leans on the shoulder of her friends.
Like many of the young girls at Rajvithi Home for Girls in Bangkok, they come from traumatic backgrounds—domestic violence at home, orphaned at birth, or innocent victims of their parent’s divorce.
“My parents divorced when I was young and I didn’t get along with my new mom,” Nok said. She’s been at home for just year after transferring from another home in Isan.
With tears welling up around her deep brown eyes, reveals that she wanted to stay with her mother, but her father refused. Now around 12, she doesn’t know where her birth mother is.
Now her home now is here. Her teachers often take the role of mothers, and she is looked after by her peers, and in turn looks after children younger than her.
On a Sunday morning, Procter and Gamble and the United Nations in Thailand paid a visit to Rajvithi Home for Girls and spoke to more than 300 girls about the importance of sharing their voices and their concerns. Using the MY World Global Survey, more than 200 students and volunteers cast their votes—each with a reason—all with different stories.
“The United Nations is committed to empowering women and girls in Thailand and around the world. The voices of these young women are a critical part of our efforts to reach out to as many people as we can during this very important campaign,” said Mark S. Cogan, UNDP Communications and Media Officer and MY World National Campaign Director in Thailand.
The Rajvithi Home for Girls is home to more than 350 girls aged 5 through 18. Many grow up there, are schooled there, and are allowed to stay through their undergraduate university studies.
But it’s a long road for these young women.
“Many of them have learning disabilities, behavioral problems, or have medical ailments like anemia, which can be caused by malnutrition at birth,” said Ms. Patchara Klangsathorn, Child Psychologist.
Yet these girls find strength through each other and within themselves.
I’ve never met my real parents,” said Pam, who has been at Rajvithi since kindergarten.
“I take care of myself and I take care of others. I listen to the teachers (parents). I’ll change myself that way and focus on my education.”
Education topped her list of MY World priorities, along with healthcare and equality for women.
Ms. Patchara was eager to teach the children the importance of voting on the MY World Global Survey.
“Education is important, especially to teach the children about the dangers of domestic violence. It’s also important for us to have a good government, because we always need to raise awareness about the importance of schools like this that have learning disabilities,” she said.