Children of Concern
Little Boy Lost? Dao was born in Shan State, Myanmar in 2003. The family moved to Thailand a few years later to escape the hardship of living in a civil war zone in Myanmar. They moved to a small village near Chiang Dao where Dao’s grandmother and other relatives lived. Dao’s father worked in the fields and orchards nearby.
The family returned to Myanmar and Dao’s mum and dad became very ill and eventually died. Dao, by this time about 7 years old, was brought back to the village near Chiang Dao to live with his grandmother again.
When Dao became ill and developed sores on his body, his grandmother took him to see a doctor who referred him to Chiang Dao hospital. A blood test revealed that Dao was HIV positive and that the virus must have been transmitted via his mother at birth or by breast feeding.By this time Dao was settled in the local school, albeit at a lower grade due to his lack of Thai language, but there were also other Shan migrant children at the school which made integration easier. Dao's grandmother however became extremely stressed at Dao having HIV and she was afraid to dress his sores. She knew that HIV leads to Aids and then you died - she knew of many people who had died because of Aids.
Dao’s grandmother contacted the HIV health care workers at Chiang Dao hospital and told them she couldn't care for Dao and could he not go to a children's home. Persuasion and explanations about HIV were of no avail.
Together with the health care workers, Rejoice visited a Shan orphanage run by monks at a temple in Arunotai on the Myanmar border. The orphanage was well known and well run, the children attended the local school in Arunotai and also received extra Shan language lessons after school. The Abbot of the temple, however, was concerned about the HIV virus and the welfare of the other children and declined to admit Dao into the orphanage.
Dao was eventually sent to “The Home for Boys” a Government run home in Chiang Mai. The Boys Home were concerned about Dao’s special medical needs and contacted an Orphanage near Chiang Mai which specialised in taking care of children with HIV, Agape Home where Dao is living today.
Approximately 8 months after being admitted to the orphanage, Dao’s grandmother contacted the Health Care workers at Chiang Dao hospital enquiring about Dao and could she visit him. The Healthcare workers contacted Rejoice to ask if we could assist.
One Sunday in March Gee met Dao’s Grandmother at Chiang Mai bus station and took her to visit Dao.
Dao was very happy to see his grandmother and Gee. He looked very well and healthy and said he was happy to be at Agape Home. Dao is taken to a local hospital for regular check-ups. Dao is certainly being well taken care of at Agape Home. He has had a very difficult life up until now, let’s hope that he will have a better and happier future.
Our recent concern is for a 4½ year old Shan boy who is HIV+. He stays with his HIV+ mother and grandmother. They are stateless with no papers. They have fled fighting in Shan state. The good news is that, ‘under the radar’, they are receiving ARV therapy at the hospital in Chiang Dao. Also, the little boy has been admitted in the local day care centre – he also has a sponsor from Rejoice.
Now (2016), Pitoon is nine years old, his mother is 'legal' having received a work permit and now is working as a house maid. He is happy at school and keeps record of his medication (and his mothers) and the times he has to take it. The photo above shows Pitoon receiving his annual scholarship. Also in the photo is his mum and Pitoon's little sister, Lek, who is HIV-ve.
The photo above shows Napar when she was 7½ years old. She is HIV+ve. Her mother died a few years ago. She lives with her father (also HIV+ve) in a village between Chiang Dao and Fang. Her aunt and uncle live close by. She recently has had an infection of head lice and her hair has been shaved; Gee has provided anti-lice shampoo for use in future. She appears to have settled well at school and seems to be much happier than on the previous visits. Napar receives an annual scholarship donated by Wight Wong from Singapore.
Napar is now 11½ years old and last year wrote this thank you note (translated from Thai) for Mr. Wong;
22nd April 2015
Thank you very much for the scholarship you have given to me.
My family is very poor. My mother died a long time ago and my father is disabled and he cannot work like able people.
I hope you will be able to give me the scholarship in the future.
I would like to continue studying to the highest level so that I can get a good job. Next term I will be in Grade 5.
Thank you very much,
Napar Un Muang (nickname Nong Nut)
The photo above shows Gee presenting Napar, who is now 12 years old, and Napar's Thank You note to Wight Wong from Singapore.
He is HIV +ve, both parents have died and now lives with his grandparents and older brother (also HIV+ve). Wattana has a lung infection (TB) and visits hospital monthly for HIV therapy and TB medicine. He enjoys watching football on TV but cannot take part in sport because of his illness. He attends school and appears quite happy in spite of his predicament.
Nattaphun Worapian or Seegame passed away, on Sunday 9th. October 2016, at the young age of 21 from a lung infection. Nattaphun was infected with HIV at birth and his growth was severely stunted and he had recently stopped taking his antiviral on a regular basis . A possible reason why Nattaphun stopped taking his drugs could be because he might be bored of doing the same thing every day since he was little. As he grew into a teenager, going out with friends, having a god time, he may have forgotten to take his pills or not felt the need to take them, thus forming a bad habit.
If the patient does not adhere to taking the antiviral drugs, this will result in drug resistance, therefor making the drug less effective. This is the primary cause for deaths in teenagers and young adults since they don’t have the proper knowledge on preventing and treating the disease. If there are no symptoms, they wouldn’t take the drugs. Taking the drug once can only be effective for 12 hours, so for the drugs to be effective they must be taken routinely on a daily basis.
Nattaphun was a former Rejoice Scholar sponsored by SDL. The picture below was taken 5 years ago when Nattaphun was sixteen years old.
Somjit is now 15 years old and is very ill and is suffering with asthma. He is in hospital in Mae Ai being kept under observation.
Instead of a thank you note Somjit drew a picture of the late King Rama IX and gave it to Rejoice.
On Tuesday, August 29, 2017 Rejoice staff together with Daeng and Loy, volunteer HIV health care workers from Mae Ai hospital, attended the funeral of novice monk Somjit.
The abbot, Somchit Boonk, from Wat Mokcham temple lead students in a procession followed by the coffin containing the body of fellow student, Somjit Toomkam. Novice Somjit died of lung disease, pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. (Pneumocystis pneumonia is not commonly found in the lungs of healthy people, but, being a source of opportunistic infection, it can cause a lung infection in people with a weak immune system, Wikipedia).