Toon is an eleven year old boy from Shan State, Burma. His Shan name is Sai Toon Lang. He is the youngest of three siblings. He came to Thailand from Mung Nai, a small town in Northern Shan State, Burma about three years ago.
Toon says that when his parents first told him they were going to move to Thailand he was very excited because he thought it would be a big adventure but he has found Thailand a very lonely place as he is forced to live on the construction site that his father is working on and there are no other children to play with besides his brother. His sister is older and is working in a restaurant and his mother has had to take a job as a live in house maid so he only gets to see her once a week.
He is also afraid of the cars and traffic in Chiang Mai and the thought of being caught out without an I.D. card. He knows he can get in big trouble and his whole family may be sent back to Burma or a detention center if the police stop them.
He also doesn’t like all of the extra responsibilities he has now; he has to take care of all of the household duties with his brother and sister (who is often at work) since his father works from 8am-5pm (often working overtime into the evening) and his mother is not home. They do the cooking, cleaning, fetching water and taking care of their one room tin shack with a dirt floor.
He really wants to go to school as he did when they first arrived; for about the first year he and his brother were allowed to go to school because his father had enough money to pay the fees from his savings. Now he cannot afford it so he is so grateful to come to Freedom House as it is the only chance for an education that he has.
He loves playing the computer games that the new volunteer lets him play on his laptop because he cannot afford to play in the game shops that charge 10 baht (.33 cents) an hour to play online games
He is not sure what he wants to do when he grows up but he is sure that he wants to save lots of money to take care of his parents.
(Toon told this story to our local Shan volunteer, Apple who then translated it to English).