Somsa is an energetic, fun loving young boy of 14. He is from Shan State Burma and has been in Thailand since he was 3 years old when his parents made a dangerous escape from Burma hoping to find a better life in Thailand.

But things haven’t been better; at least from what he knows. Both of his parents work in a construction camp from 8am-5pm unless they are forced to work overtime.

He stays home (in a tin house that is part of a small slum in the city center) with his grandmother all day taking care of two other workers babies. His grandmother is quite old so he does most of the work. He gets paid for this work (about .80 cents a day) and gives all of his money to his mom. He doesn’t mind the work, he said the babies are funny and he has nothing else to do anyway as he has no I.D. card so cannot walk around the city.

He would like to find some way to make more money to help his mother as he feels sorry for her. She has to work all day and then in the evenings his father gets drunk and fights with her. Somsa tells his father to stop drinking but it doesn’t work, it makes him very sad to see him like this. Somsa says that he will never drink alcohol because he sees it makes problems for families.

He feels jealous when he sees Thai kids going to school every day, he would also like to go. They used to live near a Thai teacher who took him to school everyday for a while until her mother got sick and she had to move away. Now he has no chance to go to normal school.

When he was younger he used to want to be a soldier but now he has changed his mind. He would like a quiet life as a shopkeeper and to make enough money to build a small house for his parents where they can live happily without fighting and drinking.

Right now he is happy to be able to study at Freedom House as he knows he can use his English skills to get a job later on. He thinks all of the teachers are very kind to teach him for free and hopes that he can do something for them someday too.

(Somsa told his story to our local Shan volunteer, Apple who translated it to English).

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