From sponsored child to English teacher

The desire to write back to her World Vision sponsor helped inspire Sangla to learn English. Today, she has become an English teacher in Thailand.

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This afternoon, students in grade 3 will meet their new English teacher. Every student waits with anticipation to see what the new teacher is like.

At once, the class — noisy and disorderly like sparrows — becomes quiet. The sounds of shoes on the ground grow louder and louder, and then the new teacher arrives.

She is younger than all the female teachers in the school. Like any other teacher, she wears a scout uniform— a khaki short-sleeve shirt with a pink and blue scarf and a khaki knee-length skirt.

Sangla, who learned English so she could one day write letters back to her sponsor, now teaches English in Thailand. (Photo: Somluck Khamsaen)

“Good afternoon. I’m your new English teacher. My name is Sangla Nantheppong. You can call me Teacher La.” She turns around and picks up a piece of chalk and writes her name on the blackboard. The children smile with excitement.

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Sangla remembers the first time she received a letter written in English from her sponsor. And every year, she received a Christmas card from her sponsor. She remembers well every word written in them. She wanted to write back to her sponsor and thank her for her care and kindness, but she could not write or read English. She had to ask the project staff to help translate the letters for her.

She made a vow that one day she would write a letter in English by herself.

But there were barriers to achieving that dream.

Sangla’s father, Sukam, and her mother, Chansuay, were farm laborers in Thailand. Her father had been jobless for a long time. They earned around US$3.50 a day, which was not enough for their family of four. Poverty and debts caused the family to argue often. Sangla’s sister, who is six years older than her, had to leave school after completing grade 6.

Every night, Sangla had bad dreams because she was afraid that she might have to leave school like her sister. She cried and could not stop crying. She loved going to school every day.

Sangla wanted to share her family’s burden, so she tried to earn some money for her school supplies by helping to make bread in a shop near her home. She earned around US$3 a week.

Then Sangla joined World Vision’s child sponsorship program when she was in primary school. Besides receiving school uniforms, shoes, and school supplies, she and her family also attended a camp organized by the project every year, which helped with the family tensions.

Sangla was happier when family friction lessened. This is what the project hopes to see throughout the community: harmony and warmth in families.

Sangla’s school grades were consistently good, and she was an example to younger children in her community. More importantly, the vow she made came to pass, and she learned to write to her sponsor.

“I like English, because I like to read and write to my sponsor,” Sangla says. “I’m very happy to know that there is someone who cares for me.”

Because of World Vision’s support, Sangla attended school every day and went on to complete her Bachelor of Arts degree in English at Naresuan University in north-central Thailand.

“If I don’t have knowledge, I will not be able to achieve anything successful. Having an education is very important. It enhances our skills and provides us with opportunities,” Sangla says.

The child sponsorship program brought transformation into her life by empowering her. Today, her love for the English language is creating a new generation of English teachers, as Sangla now teaches English to 185 students in grade 3 in Manit Wittaya School, a private school in Chiang Rai, in northern Thailand.

“I have dreamed of teaching English ever since I was a child, and it has come true.” Sangla laughs. “Being a teacher is tiring, but it is fun. I like children, because they are innocent. They want to learn many subjects from teachers who care and love them.”

Child sponsorship is the cornerstone of World Vision's approach to community development. Join us! Change the life of a child like Sangla – for good! Sponsoring a child helps provide a quality education and other life-saving basics. Consider sponsoring a child today!


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