The Klongtoey Kid Who Make a Difference

We have the right and we can be like others in the society

UNICEF Thailand
A young, dark-skinned, man wearing a white t-shirt with the text "I'd like to see children's views get acceptance from everyone in society".
UNICEF Thailand

01 November 2019

“I nearly took a wrong turn. I’m lucky to have my family to guide me and remind me to keep it together. That’s how I made it through. I want to see other kids in the community make it through as well” This is the confession from Nutt, an 11th-grade student who wants to see his Klongtoey community change for the better.

Klongtoey and Drugs are Inseparable? 

You will see a great mix of good and bad if you’re born and live in Klongtoey your whole life. “Everyone knows the community’s surroundings are bad. I’d hang out with friends who do drugs and friends who play music, and people would often look at me in a bad way. But I’m lucky to have my mother as a guiding figure who reminds me that our family isn’t rich. She would say If I go to jail, there will be no bail money and no future. So, I never got involved in bad things. The turning point came when I wanted to play music and at that time there was a project that turns an abandoned space where junkies would meet up into a learning space. When Kru Aew saw this space, he brought art and music into the community.”

 

Opportunity for Change

Most people in the community aren’t always open to new things, it’s usually like that, said Nutt. “The first reaction was that he’s just a volunteer who comes and goes teaching music. That’s it. At first, not many people were interested, only the kids who lived near the place he taught. I was lucky that my mom was very open. “If you can’t do well in school, you might as well be good at music”. But my grades are quite okay, and she encouraged me to participate. “You can go play in the provinces or anywhere you want, as long as you’re not doing bad things to others or yourself”.

People usually see Klongtoey kids as slum children or junkies, but we’re not like that. “I used to be like that actually. I swear a lot. But when I joined the Music Sharing camps and met people who talked nicely to me, I felt like I wanted to be like that too. So, I changed myself. My family was a big part of the change, they raised me well.”

 

We Have the Right and We can be Like Others in the Society

From the kid who joined the “Klongtoey Dee Jung” program, he turned into a volunteer teacher himself. He is taking action to make a change. “I become a volunteer because I really want to teach and share. It’s such a pity to keep all the knowledge to myself. When I teach, I get to see the kids grow. They have more confidence to talk to strangers and other volunteers coming into Kongtoey too. I’m also better at music. I’m so proud to be a part of this change. I want more kids to stand up for their rights and for their community. They don’t have to join this music program. I just want them to have a chance to go out and see the bigger picture of this world. Do something that makes their lives better. To be able to change these kids’ mindset, I think I can already call it a success.

“I want adults to support us to create more space for all kind of activities, to support volunteerism in the community, to teach the kids or bringing in useful skills that will benefit them. I want these children to get support and more acceptance from the people in society.”