ST* is a 40-year-old Cambodian refugee, and a student at Good Shepherd (GSS) under Urban Education Project (UEP). He arrived in Thailand in September of 2019 with his wife, 38, and two young children. He and his family were forced to leave due to political persecution. As Thailand does not recognize refugees, and due to his status, employment has been difficult for him to obtain. Fortunately, he was able to receive financial assistance from Bangkok Refugee Center (BRC) during his first 4 months in Thailand. Currently, he is studying English and Vocational Course – Computer Graphic Design at GSS under UEP. He is very grateful for this opportunity as it has broadened his knowledge of both subjects.
ST is 90% fluent in Thai because the town he comes from is on the border of Cambodia and Thailand. As a University student, ST was an IT major; he also studied English. However, after two years of studying, he was unable to afford his university tuition, and had no choice but to drop out and find work. Although he studied English in school and university, he lost much of what he learned as he was not able to practice using English in his everyday life.
The Thai, English and vocational class under Urban Education Project (UEP) has afforded ST many opportunities and possibilities. The courses that UEP offers are useful and can be applied to everyday life, as well as broaden his opportunities. For ST, what he thought was lost has now been found, as he has been able to improve both his English and Computer Graphic Design skills through the informative curriculum. Through his newfound knowledge and skills, he has gained hope, as well as confidence, in forging a new future for himself and his family.
Aside from English and Computer Graphic Design, he has also learned other vocational skills such as haircutting. ST has never stopped valuing education, even when it wasn’t available to him. Now that it is, he has made it a top priority for himself and his family; his daughter, 3, and son, 7 are now enrolled at GSS as well. And he is waiting for his wife to gain refugee status so she can also enroll in the JRS program.
ST knows how valuable and important is the education he has received from UEP. His goal is to return to his home and apply the knowledge and skills he’s learned by teaching English and Computer Graphic Design to his community. He believes that education in these subjects is the key to a brighter future for his community, as it has been for him.
*Names have been changed to protect identity