Trang single mother of nine faces dire straits on 200 baht a day

Photo courtesy of KhaoSod

Battling against overwhelming odds, a 30 year old single mother, identified only by her nickname Dam, shoulders the responsibility of caring for nine lives in a cramped rental home in Trang province.

Her household includes her five children, two siblings with support needs, and a nephew. The family’s struggle is compounded by a meagre income, making their daily survival a constant challenge.

On February 16, the stark reality of this family’s life was reported from their modest dwelling at 197 Moo 4, Na Khuan subdistrict, Yan Ta Khao district in Trang.

Dam, who earns a paltry 100-200 baht a day from odd jobs, has been unemployed for five months, forcing her to make the heart-wrenching decision to pull her eldest daughter, a Mathayom 2 student on the verge of entering Mathayom 3, out of school due to financial constraints.

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The rental house, costing 1,000 baht per month, is illuminated by a single light bulb. The remaining bulbs are broken, with no funds available to repair them. The family’s sparse possessions include one electric pot and three fans inside.

Trang single mother of nine faces dire straits on 200 baht a day | News by Thaiger
Photo courtesy of KhaoSod

Without beds or furniture for the children to do homework, they huddle together on old mats with thin blankets. The cramped space serves as their living and sleeping quarters and houses piles of damp clothes, as the family cannot afford a basin, detergent, or water bills. reported KhaoSod.

Of the nine individuals, seven are females, six of whom are of menstruating age. Some months, the lack of sanitary pads forces them to miss school and remain homebound until their period ends. With eight dependents unable to work due to child protection laws, the burden of providing falls solely on Dam’s shoulders.

The children frequently miss school due to financial woes, but they have been fortunate to receive three bicycles from the Poh Teck Tung Foundation to travel the 7-8 kilometre distance from Yan Ta Khao to their school in Palian district. Leftover school lunches sometimes provide the only meal for the entire family.

The future of the four remaining school-aged children is uncertain as Dam’s unemployment persists, with outstanding debts for utilities and rent amounting to roughly 2,000 baht per month. The family desperately seeks assistance to ensure the children can continue their education. Despite a visit from a concerned agency over two years ago, no further help has been forthcoming.

Trang single mother of nine faces dire straits on 200 baht a day | News by Thaiger
Photo courtesy of KhaoSod

Those wishing to extend support to this family can reach out to Teacher Noi at Wat Khuan Wilai School in Palian district, Trang, or contact Dam directly at 061-509-2301. Dam has never opened a bank account, reflecting her detachment from financial services. She expressed her concerns over the children’s well-being and education, fearing they may not be able to continue schooling.

The state’s lack of intervention leaves the family reliant on the generosity of their teacher, who has been their sole support in ensuring the children can eat and attend school. If Dam remains unemployed, the prospect of the children’s education in the upcoming term is bleak, with the family’s monthly expenses estimated at 5,000 baht but with no income to cover even the basic cost of living.

In related news, the groundbreaking summit, Bridging the Gap: Thailand’s Path to Inclusive Prosperity, revealed persistent poverty in specific regions despite overall progress, with some provinces showing promising signs of improvement. Read more about the poverty report.

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Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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