40th Anniversary: Everything has changed for the better
28 March 2021|Prasit Boonlad, Admin and Finance Officer, JRS Thailand in Mae Hong Son
JRS is my first and only job. Before joining JRS, I dropped out of university due to financial issues. My father was suffering from intracerebral hemorrhage caused by high blood pressure. My family spent all savings on treatment. After leaving the university, I continued my father’s car garage business and sold snacks at the same time because my father was the breadwinner, but he was unable to work anymore. Then about a year later, my neighbor asked me if I was interested in working for an NGO that is looking for an administrative assistant who graduated from high school with good English. I applied without any expectations. At the same time, I signed up as a conscripted soldier because it was a way I could earn for my family. when the JRS agreed to accept me, I immediately canceled it. I joined a black-red card event, but probably with my fate, I got a black card and continued to work with JRS. In February 2006, I started my first job at JRS.
In the beginning, I don’t know anything about the position as I don’t have any experience and only graduated from high school, including lack knowledge of refugees or temporary shelters. Surprisingly, not only me that don’t know about them, many people living in Mae Hong Son do not know as well. After working for a while and learn about the refugees, I understand more about the problems of forced displacement caused by war. These have inspired me to work. It’s also a driving force that makes me happy and loves my job, I still remember the first time I visited a temporary shelter at Ban Mai Nai Soi. It opened my eyes and gave me a glimpse of the lives of refugees. People of different nationalities are affected by war and conflict. They flee from home to live with limited basic rights, but this dire situation does not degrade their dignity. That impressed me.
I spent 6 years working with JRS as an Admin Assistant, then I was promoted as a Finance Officer in 2012 and again promoted to the position of Admin and Finance Officer in 2017 until now. My promotion at JRS is based on my work experience without a higher education background. For me, I think JRS is the only place that provides this kind of opportunity. It is almost impossible in other systems. This has allowed me to see that JRS is open to opportunities. It allowed disadvantaged people to improve themselves, and live sustainably and equivalently. JRS looks more at real talent than educational background (Which also happens to refugees). JRS is an organization that does help people.
Today, I think my life has come to a very stable place. It is the highest point of happiness and satisfaction. From a life that seems walking towards the dead-end to a life that was fulfilled. During the 14 years working with JRS, I think this is the best.
JRS has given me an opportunity I wouldn’t have had from anywhere else. It changed a life with nothing to a stable life, changed me from a person who does not know much to know a lot more, and changed a person who focused only on money to become a passionate worker who wants to help others, changed from adolescence to a more thoughtful adult. Everything has changed for the better.
“Accompany” is what the JRS always does whenever, anywhere, and with anyone. It can be seen in times of trouble. JRS is the first organization to promptly provide assistance and take care of family members, both with staff and those who are served by the JRS.
“Serve” JRS does not only provide education to refugees, JRS help empower people. For example, various skills training for emotional, mental, faith, and spiritual development. JRS also accompanies refugees by visiting their home, family, and community in a broader perspective. JRS looks deeper into the problem, root causes, and listens. Its service is more than just a service.
“Advocate” JRS is an organization that listens with deep understanding. It is trusted among the community. It was seen when local organizations or the refugees themselves often come to consult JRS about their problems. JRS has been working side by side and serve them sincerely, so our support is from the voice of refugees. This is why JRS can exactly meet the needs of refugees.
In conclusion, these three words I often hear in annual meetings are applied in the work of JRS. They are more than just words. They are touchable at JRS as They show our genuine and sustainable support.