I graduated in March 2020 and I was so looking forward to entering the workforce, like the rest of my university mates. Then life served up a giant curve ball and knocked me off my feet. The Covid-19 pandemic hit, a partial lockdown followed, making it difficult for me to look for work. I left Chonburi, a province near Bangkok, and moved back to my hometown in Nan in northern Thailand to wait out the storm. Four months went by without any luck of landing a job; it was a difficult and confusing time for me. Then things started to turn when I secured an interview with Pratthanadee in July in Bangkok for a job as a program coordinator & training support staff. I cleared the hurdle and was offered the role! It is truly a dream come true for me to work in the field of empowering underprivileged girls and women.

Several months into the role, I have become more aware that everyone is going through difficult times but in varying degrees. Some of the students at the foundation have lost their jobs, had their salaries cut or work suspended. They also suffer from mental health issues brought on by physical distancing. Despite these challenges, they continue to show up for classes at the foundation. There is a quiet strength in these women; they seem to hold fast to the belief that things will get better. I find them inspiring. My formal education may have ended, but I think my life lessons from these ‘graduates’ of the school of hard knocks have only just begun.

By: Kewalin Teekawong

Edited: Soohow Wong