Recently we received letters back from the 3 girls that we are sponsoring through secondary school. We are are keen to support communities in the region where our handmade silver jewellery comes from. We are doing this through a local charity, EDF Thai. edfthai.org
Our Thai is pretty basic, and limited to speaking enough to get around in taxis and ordering food. This means when we want to communicate with the sponsees we have to email the letters to EDF, who then translate our letters into Thai and pass them onto the girls. They then send letters back in Thai which again have to be translated into English. Although the girls will learn English at school (Typically English lessons start at 7 years old), the teaching is of very mixed standards. They also have an emphasis on grammar rather than conversational English.
We on the other hand have no excuses, other than Thai being a very tricky language to learn. There are 5 different “tones” for each word which mean different things. Literally the word which means “beautiful” can also mean “ugly” depending on the tone – so you have to watch out!
We are currently organising with the charity to arrange to meet the girls, but we need their support to help us translate. We want to see how the Maison de Siam money is helping in person and what more we can do to help these girls.
The great news is our sponsorship has been very well received and has motivated the girls. All have said they will try extra hard at school, so they can graduate with great grades and hopefully go on to further education.
Plaifah is clearly a very motivated young lady with a bright future ahead of her if she continues her education. Her letter was very eloquently written and she loves studying. Infact she has recently passed an entrance exam for a Senior Secondary school. She has decided that she wants to study to be a Doctor at university. She wants to do this because when she was little she was treated by a very kind doctor and this memory has stayed with her. It will also enable her to be able to help friends and family if they get sick.
She has told us that she has entered a science and maths competition recently and although she didn’t win she was pleased with her efforts! She also wants to meet us to say thank you for the support.
Plaifah continues her love for reading, her favourite book at the moment is Sherlock Holmes, she has only found a few that have been translated into Thai, although she did say that she gets a little bit lost in the plot sometimes!
Pakjeeraporn told us about the food in the North of Thailand, and when we go and visit she is keen to take us to some of her favourite places to eat. She also wants to see us cook western food which is an interesting request, so we will have to work out what the best menu option will be! I have a feeling she’ll be disappointed if it doesn’t have lots of chilli!
Waranya has recently been on school holidays and said that she used this time to help her aunt with her work and at home as much as she could. She was enjoying the change in temperature as winter was just beginning and things were beginning to get a little cooler. Waranya like many Thai people love it when the weather gets cold. Many people from other parts of Thailand will visit the north during winter just to experience cold weather again!! She also sent a message from her aunt, saying thank you very much for helping support Waranya through school.
It is great to know that already in the short time Maison de Siam has been running we can already support people less fortunate in the region we are sourcing our handmade silver jewellery from.