We have just come home from Chiang Rai and Neng's ceremonial graduation from the university.
We are so incredibly grateful and happy that we had the opportunity to celebrate this day together with him - to see our beloved Neng, to experience his joy, happiness and pride.
A day none of us had experienced if it were not for all of you who support us and our children.
Neng came to us in 2006 when he was eleven years old. We quickly realised that he was a very intelligent boy and that he took shelter behind his intelligence as his earlier years in life had been tough.
His father died when Neng was only one year old, his mother died when he was six and he grew up with his grandmother, his uncle and his aunt.
His childhood in Khon Khaen was marked by poverty and he grew up among other poor children, but what made him different was that he was orphan and even though he had several friends, he was teased for being an orphan. His way of compensating for it was to study hard and do good at school.
He came to Barnhem when his uncle died and the family no longer could afford to let him go to school. It was Neng himself who was told about Barnhem at school and it was Neng who decided to move to us as he did not want to be a burden for his family.
Just this makes him special, he saw an opportunity to help himself and his family and he took it ... and he was only 11 years old!
We had the privilege of having Neng with us and seeing him grow up from a small 11-year-old boy to a 19-year-old young man. He was always ambitious at school, but stayed a bit by himself at the children's home. He had difficulty letting someone get close, as one can understand as he had already lost very many people in his life.
At age 13, he learned how to make a simple website in HTML at school and he loved it. And as he just wanted to learn more and more and as the school could not deliver more knowledge on the subject, he taught himself through books and the internet.
It was obvious that he had found what he wanted to do and that he had plans for life, but at the same time did not expect or thought he would get any help and that he was too proud to ask for it.
So when we asked him what he wanted to study, he was quick to present the education "Multimedia and animation" and provide all the information that was available about this education and then we together produced a presentation about the education and about him.
He passed the test to the university and we managed to find sponsors for his studies and his whole life got a turn.
The biggest difference between the eleven-year-old boy who came to us twelve years ago and the 23-year-old young man we celebrated this Monday is his self-confidence, pride, security and caring. He has lots of amazing friends that he will have for the rest of his life. He has found his dream job with fun challenges and great colleagues. He has been shown that there are wonderful people who want to help others and that have made him believe and trust in people.
He is happy and has got the life he dreamed of.
He did the job all by himself, but all of you who support Barnhem and all of you that sponsored his scholarship made it possible for him to have something to work for.
He keeps in touch with his family at Barnhem, cares for his younger ”siblings” and is a great role model and inspires the rest of our children. He is proof that it is possible to give yourself a wonderful life and a better future and that it is not only hard work but also a lot of fun on the way.
Many thanks to all of you that support Barnhem, you made it possible for Neng to grow up with us!
And thank you very much, dear sponsors for choosing to sponsor his university scholarship and made it possible for him to go for his dream.
We think that you will never really understand how important you are and what your help has meant. But we know that regardless of whether you have met Neng or not, you will be with him for the rest of his life and we know that he and we will be forever thankful.
NOTE As this text about Neng is very personal I have of coursed send it to him and asked his permission to publish it.
His answer came directly “Hi If my story can help other children please share it, it’s so great for me :), Love”