Since failing to make it to university after high school and moving to Bangkok for work in 1995, Kanokon Matchimo (Riang) has experienced divorce twice, become a single mother, and shuffled through a range of jobs, most of which she did not like. Now a janitor at an international school, she is finally enjoying some respite from her eventful past albeit she has never harbored negativity over everything that has happened to her.

 Still, life could be better, Riang felt, so she decided to sign up to be a student at Pratthanadee some two years back. “My friend Preaw was a student and spoke English fluently, I was inspired and so decided to enrol but found out that the foundation also has a ‘Better Me’ program for those who wanted to manage their lives to better.”   

The course has taught Riang how to plan her future, manage her money, and handle her emotions when she faces difficult circumstances. She now knows how to negotiate with her employer to protect her rights, defend herself in dangerous situations, and has even become more adept at socializing. The latter used to be difficult for the 45-year old native of Kalasin province because of a mild hearing impairment. 

“The ear problem started quite a number of years ago and it badly affected my confidence. I was upfront when I applied to be a student but the staff told me it was not a problem.” Riang said the course has helped open her up to people and opportunities. “Everyone accepted me in class when I started. I no longer ‘block out’ myself because of this health issue.”  Happier and more self-assured now, Riang is planning for the next stage of her life. “I want to return to my home province and start a clothing store. My daughter’s agreed to fund my new business. I’ll also have more time with my children.”