In this edition of ‘A Day In The Life’ we are introduced to Vany, a single mother from Cambodia living on the streets of Bangkok.
Peuan Peuan is the name of Friends-International’s program in Thailand, working in Bangkok and at Aranyaprathet on the border between Thailand and Cambodia. Part of our work involves going out onto the streets day and night to work directly with marginalized people – we call this ‘outreach’. In Bangkok, one area that an outreach team focuses on is the Khao San Road. A busy tourist area, street children flock here to shine shoes, sell candles & flowers or just beg from foreigners. It was here that outreach staff member Nang first met Vany 3 years ago. A single mother from Cambodia, Vany was begging by the side of the road with her two-year-old daughter. She was visibly pregnant and clearly in pain. Nang talked to her and suggested she get medical help, but Vany adamantly refused this, saying she would be fine in a few moments. After some persuasion, Nang returned to meet the other outreach workers, but was so concerned about the young mother she soon went back to check on her. Vany was now in so much pain that she was unable to sit; Nang also realized she was bleeding. Worried that both the mother and her unborn baby were seriously ill, she immediately called an ambulance.
Vany was furious! Why? Because Nang had called an ambulance from the police hospital and the reason she was hurt was that she had been running from the police! As a Cambodian living illegally in Thailand, Vany feared being sent to an immigration detention center and in the chaos of trying to escape the policemen she ‘forgot’ that she was pregnant!
However, Nang was not going to let Vany harm her unborn child for fear of the police. She went along with her in the ambulance to the hospital and vouched for Vany so that she did not get into any trouble. Afterwards, Nang made sure she got home safely and monitored her situation in case she needed any more medical assistance. Luckily, there were no more complications and three months later the baby was born healthy and well.
Vany still works on the streets, but the Peuan Peuan team keep in regular contact with her to check everything is ok. They have built a good relationship with her and have made sure that she sends her older children to school. Nang sees her often and is happy that she was there to help this woman when she most needed it, protecting a child who was on the streets before he was even born.
Friends-International teams work day and night on the streets of Southeast Asia saving the lives of marginalized young people and helping them to make the first steps back into a productive and full life through reintegration into education, family and employment. You can find out more about our work at www.friends-international.org, and you can help by making a donation here.