Posted on 01 Jul 20 in Case Stories

Young Chaba is 16 years old, and lives and studies with her four siblings in Ban Pho So School. A school which lies deep in the Sao Hin National park and is for some children over three days walk away from home.

Chaba enjoys her education very much. Mathematics is her favourite subject.

Chaba is luckier than some. Many students are forced live on the floor of their teacher’s house on the school grounds as there is little space to properly house students. Chaba, however, has a bed in the school’s girl’s dormitory where she lives for most of her time at school, until her parents pick her up and walk home with her for one week a month.

She is from Ban Huay Hia, a small village in the neighboring Mae Khong sub-district. An area which has no roads, making the 33 kilometer journey challenging and often dangerous making it important for her parents to accompany her home.

The girl’s dormitory in Ban Pho So has been her home for the past 8 years. While she is grateful to be able to stay at the school, it comes with its own set of challenges.

“The dormitory is very hot, and there are too many girls in there. The room is narrow, and I don’t have space to keep all my clothes and books.”

In 2016, the school made an urgent appeal to the Karen Hilltribes Trust to help improve the living situation for their young girls. Such conditions not only significantly impact their quality of life, with many having to share a single bed with more than one student, but also causes their academic performance to suffer.

“Sometimes I can’t sleep because I can’t move or turn around in the bed, because I share with another girl. It makes me sleepy in classes.”

Thanks to the support of Aberdeen Asset Management however, we are delighted to say that KHT will be able to improve the lives of Chaba and the other girls at Ban Pho So School. Work is already underway on a brand new dormitory behind the existing one, scheduled for completion in November.

The dorm will house 60 girls, freeing up room in the existing dormitory for them to ease overcrowding. It will also reduce the long queue for the showers and toilets by providing new facilities.

When she finishes at Ban Pho So, Chaba wants to train as a nurse.

“When I am a nurse, I can go back to my village and help the villagers.”

This is Chaba’s way of making her time in education worthwhile, allowing her to help those back home who were not as lucky as her.