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SMA13-UNESCO Round Case Studies #3: A Mother’s Determination

Christopher Tordoff Christopher Tordoff 06/11/2019 6 min read

With household debts mounting up and children to support, one single parent from Thailand thought her situation was forever hopeless. That is until a lifeline, in the form of non-formal education provided her with the tools to better herself, her family and her community.

Non-formal education.

The right to education affects the life and welfare, not only of one person, but their loved ones as well. By missing out on the opportunities provided by education, it is most often single women and their children who are most affected, which can also affect the welfare of their entire communities.

In the case of Thai national Ms Supang, when the father of her two young children abandoned the family, she suddenly became a single mother supporting her three and seven-year-olds, along with taking on the responsibility for a huge home loan. Because she had not completed her basic education, she had difficulty in finding a job to support her family during this desperate time.

Education can pave the way to improve people and their communities in Thailand (Flickr/Nicolas Lannuzel)

Inspired by her two young children, Ms Supang began a small lunch-delivery business for workers in banks and hospitals. One day, walking along the street, she saw a non-formal learning education advertisement offering courses to finish basic education and qualify for entrance to university. At the age of 30, she decided she would become a lawyer.

With a full-time work schedule, raising two small children and studying in the evening, Ms Supang faced many challenges in achieving her goal. Even her neighbours told her she could never be a lawyer. But when her spirits and confidence in making this change were lowest, her teacher called to encourage her to attend her final exam and finish high school. That phone call was the turning point.

The perfect setting for Non-formal education AND a manga story! (Flickr/Tracie Hall)

Lifelong learning programmes give people of all ages a new chance to learn, guaranteeing the right of access to education for everyone.

Ms Supang received her high school certificate at age 34, finished university in five years, and passed the national examination to become a lawyer when she was 43. She now currently fights for the rights of disadvantaged and ill people. Her lifelong learning has not only changed her and her children’s lives, but empowered her to make a contribution to her community as a whole.

Helpful LINKS:

PENMARU’s TIP! “The ultimate underdog story! Against all odds, Ms Supang achieved her dreams with quite possibly life’s most amazing gift… education. We all love to see a happy ending to seemingly hopeless situation, so what emotional story could you create that best shows triumph with the help of education?”
Christopher Tordoff

Christopher Tordoff