For two decades we have trained underprivileged girls and women in the kingdom almost uninterrupted through political upheavals, floods and the like. Never have we experienced anything close to this current pandemic and its accompanying lockdown measures. For many of our students, it is a confusing time. Our foundation has been a source of constant in their lives, where they come to learn and be near others in similar predicament. Social distancing, a measure to stop the spread of the virus, is understandably difficult for many of them.
We spoke with our 114 Bangkok students recently and are heartened by the fact that a majority of them (61%) are still working, while the rest have either lost their jobs or are on involuntary leave until their workplaces open again. Below is a snapshot of their lives under lockdown in their own words.
“For me, I’m physically and mentally healthy. I work in toothbrush manufacturing and we still have a lot of orders from overseas. And I even work overtime for three hours everyday. I can’t go anywhere but at least I still have a job. I am waiting for the foundation to reopen. I want to meet my teacher, staff and friends at the foundation. I miss everyone there. Y“ Aey
“I lost my job.” Ple
“I’m tired but healthy. I have to work even harder than normal as I’m now given more tasks. I have to do housekeeping and babysit at the same time.” Nay
“I’m still working but there’s no more overtime work. I can’t go anywhere on my day off. Only stay at home. I’m bored.” Moo
“I have to work harder than ever. My colleague is on leave. I have to do everything. Can’t have day offs, can’t be sick.” Doa
“I’m bored at home. I want to go back to work.” Meaw
“I’m doing okay.” Noi
“I’m healthy and still busy at work.” Jang
“I’m fine. I’m selling bubble milk tea. It’s hard to sell as there are not many customers. I’m bored and miss the staff and my friends at the foundation and my volunteer teacher.” Waew
“I’m fine as I still go to work. I miss everyone at the foundation. I’m afraid of the virus and don’t know when we can meet again.” Aueng
“I’m working everyday. I miss everyone at the foundation and I want to go back to class soon.” Deawi
“I’m fine and busier than before. Sometimes I get a day off on Sunday but on other weeks I have to work. I have to work longer hours now without any pay increase. 55555 but I’m still okay.” Woon
“I lost my job.” Ploy