Thailand: three boys graduate against all the odds

Three friends show their  college diplomas

Three friends show their college diplomas

These three teenage boys in Pattaya, Thailand,  have reason to feel proud this week. After surviving very difficult experiences as children, they have just graduated from their colleges and can look forward to a more prosperous times ahead.

One boy from Khon Kaen, in north east Thailand, can remember seeing his mother only once in his life. His father was too poor to care for him, so he was placed in a government children’s home.

Another boy, brought up by his grandmother in Buriram in the north east of Thailand was placed in a government institution at the age of ten after he became addicted to playing computer games and played truant from school.

They were both moved from one institution to another, until they eventually ran away and made their way to Pattaya.

The third boy, along with his family, went to Pattaya hoping to find work and a better life. His family found themselves living in one of the  town's poorest slum areas.

The three met at the Father Ray Drop-In Centre,  which offered them a safe place to live and the support they needed to help them make a decision about their future.

With an interest in motorbikes, two boys decided that they would like to become mechanics, so they enrolled at a vocational school. The third wanted to become an electrician, so he went each morning to college.

All three worked hard and have now just successfully graduated, and are now looking for full time employment in their chosen fields. They are currently living at the newly opened Half Way House where they are learning to live an independent life, but support is still available to them if needed.  

The projects in Pattaya, founded by Redemptorist priest Fr Ray Brennan offer a lifeline to hundreds of young people living on the streets at risk of drug addiction or exploition by the sex trade. They are funded by the Thai Children's Trust - the largest British charity working in Thailand. The patron of the Trust is Archbishop Vincent Nichols.

For more information, see:

Share this story