Two years ago I volunteered as an English teacher in Fang through the Blood Foundation. As I got to know my students, I learned that many could not continue their educations after age 15. Costs, including transportation and tuition, were simply far too high, especially for those living outside of the main city of Fang. The young people instead began working right away. As a university student in my second year of undergrad, I understood that education is the key to a better life, and my heart went out to these young men and women who would otherwise have continued their education.
Fast forward two years.
The sun was hot. Everyone was waiting patiently for the representatives of Sievert Larsson. Finally, David Williams and Kun Tik arrived. There was a bustle as the teachers invited the us to take a picture with the students to commemorate the day. After smiling as a few cameras were engaged to capture the moment, the staff of FVTC ushered us inside into an air-conditioned conference room. Mr. Williams quickly scanned his list of the students. He seemed to take his job as provider of opportunity very seriously, but still presented a very friendly demeanor. Tik quietly acted as Mr. Williams' right hand.
Today was only one event of many that Mr. Williams and Tik would attend this year. They interview students in the northern Thailand region and reward the scholarships based on financial need and academic standing. Mr. Williams first came to Fang in February, 2012 to interview approximately 60 local students, 48 of whom were selected for scholarships. Our own Carol and Kru Pui worked with Mr. Williams to find candidates in Fang and assisted in making his time here as productive as possible.Three months later, Mr. Williams was about to officially plant the seeds and hoped to see their efforts grow to fruition.
Back in the conference room, students filtered in. A colorful sign in Thai and English announced the day's ceremony. As the students settled into their seats, Dr. Sompong Khaikham, the principal of the school, silenced the room and introduced the representatives of the Sievert Larsson and Blood Foundation. We were asked to give our names, and when it came to be my turn I piped up, "Bee."
Dr. Sompong Khaikham invited Mr. Williams to the center of the room. Mr. Williams looked at his young audience, and began to speak in English. Tik translated. They explained that He and Tik were happy to give the scholarships out that day, and encouraged the students to get in contact with Dave or Tik via their teachers if they had any questions or concerns. David strongly expressed his dedication to the students. He sincerely hoped that the scholarships would produce opportunities for the students in the future.
As Mr. Williams spoke, a few more students filtered into the room. Everyone listened quietly until Tik started calling the students up one by one to receive an envelope and pose for a photo from Mr. Williams. Many of the students seemed shy of the relatively towering figure handing out scholarships. After the last envelope was given and the last student had shuffled back to her seat, the students thanked Mr. Williams, and a picture was taken with the teachers, Sievert Larsson, and Blood Foundation by one of the students.
The formalities having been completed, the Dr. Sompong Khaikham and the staff of FVTC invited us out to lunch. Everyone there seemed to look forward to future such ceremonies, which will continue to give deserving youth a chance to realize their dreams. We at Blood Foundation certainly look forward to working with the representatives of Sievert Larsson in the future.