Chanchira*, 17, and Apichaya*, 16, came to Thailand’s Promise Home recently. Originally from the same hill tribe village, these two girls are friends who also worked together at the same bar.

Our agents first identified and rescued Chanchira who told them of her younger friend Apichaya who was still at the bar. Within two weeks, our agents were able to rescue Apichaya and the two friends were reunited again, but this time in the safety of Promise Home.

Now, the girls are working through our 6-month Learning Centre program and they are making great progress. While we watch them grow as individuals, they are able to walk this path of growth together. Both girls had the opportunity to visit a nursing home that cares for the elderly and disabled. “We planned an activity at the nursing home so the girls could have the opportunity to participate with the community, establish relationships and increase their personal development,” says Bpee, the girls’ caseworker.

The atmosphere at the nursing home was calm and peaceful as we arrived to find the residents gathered together, waiting to see what we had in store for them. Chanchira and Apichaya, both reserved at first, came out of their shells as they started leading the group through some hand exercises. We could feel the tone lift as everyone relaxed and soon the small room was echoing with laughter and filled with smiles. Although it may seem as if many of the residents do not have a lot in the way of physical or material things, their joy radiates from them, and seeing their wizened hands waving in the air and their eyes twinkle with delight was heartwarming.

After the activities, the girls spent some time helping in the sun-washed garden area outside the home. They laughed with residents as they worked and enjoyed the tranquility. “My favorite part of visiting the nursing home was the recreation activities,” says Chanchira “I felt proud of myself to be able to help others.” Apichaya also shared similar thoughts about the visit, “It felt good to have a chance to help other people”. The residents of the nursing home really understand what it is to live simple yet beautiful lives, and Chanchira and Apichaya perceived the value of this.

Both girls came away from the experience feeling that it was important to help others. This is encouraging to hear as their caseworkers hoped that after a visit like this, the girls would be more aware of their community and would think back on this moment when visiting their own families in the months to come.

* Names changed to protect identity