Graduation Day 2009

Boy, Gigi,Oum, Nut, Bee Fr Shea, Ahtit, Fah, Noon Nin, Boom, Tai and Ying

On 14th March 2009 at Rosario Vitthaya School in Viengkhuk, 2 children from Sarnelli House, 2 from St Patricks, 1 from House of Hope, 5 from Our Lady of Refuge Home for Girls and 1 girl from the Outreach Program participated in their graduation ceremony.

The 2 children from Sarnelli House are Bee and Ahtit both graduating from Kindergarten. Miss Bee has faced and overcome many odds in her short life. Probably the worst of all is the scarring and disfiguration of her face from the Herpes virus or Shingles, as a result of having AIDS. Despite surgery since coming to Sarnelli House her face is still quite disfigured. However she has not let that stop her living and enjoying life. She has the sweetest spirit and while being tiny in size has plenty of energy and fun to make up for this. Bee is unassuming yet loving and tender to whoever she lavishes her affections on. She is happy playing by herself as well as with her friends, her best friend is Joi Joi at Sarnelli House.

Ahtit, Boom, Gigi and Bee

Ahtit is a little fellow who craves affection and when he doesn’t get it, he can create havoc. His attention span is limited to playing and making mischief, so it is with great relief and some incredulity that he has graduated from Kindergarten. Ahtit has had a difficult life already, having HIV, being abandoned by his family and being shunted from 2 institutions before coming to Sarnelli House.

From St Patricks, big Boy has graduated from Rosario school and will go onto his final year’s study in a village school not far from St Patrick’s village Pai Si Tong. Boy has some behavioural difficulties and has possibly some syndrome that hasn’t been formally diagnosed. The other boys at St Patrick’s protect him from teasing and taunting by the kids at school. Boy has a brilliant memory and is very attached to Mrs Wan who runs House of Hope, he can get over excited easily, but has been cured for the most part of his tendency to drop his pants if he is upset.

Fr. Shea and Bee

Gigi is a walking miracle, when he first came to Sarnelli he was disabled in speech and in movement, the result of a botched abortion. Only after much encouragement, tears and patience mainly from the determined Ms Peh who was in charge of Sarnelli House is Gigi where he is now – graduating from Kindergarten.

Boom is a little fellow with HIV who was dumped at Sarnelli when he was 11months old. He is responding well to his ARV medications and now is a healthy and active 8 year old.

The 5 girls from Viengkhuk will go onto further study. Nut along with Ying will attend a high school in Udon Thani, 60km from Nongkhai. They will live at the boarding school and come back to Viengkhuk in the holidays. They chose this school themselves for its good reputation. Oum, Fah and Tai are going to study at JBec college in Nongkhai, they will travel there every day and continue to live at Vienkghuk. Noon Nin will go and live with her grandmother and study from there. Thankfully, Sarnelli House and the girls’ sponsors will continue to support them for their living allowance, school books, uniforms, transport etc, to enable them to complete their final studies.


Ying and her mother Fai

Ying’s story is one of hope and determination. She is a young 16 year old girl who has HIV; she used to live at Sarnelli House when she was a child. Her father died from AIDS and her mother has HIV and now is getting complications from her disease, but she continues to work in a program set up by the Good Shepherd Sisters in Nongkhai, enabling woman with HIV/AIDS to work making cards to sell. Ying was started on her ARV medications when she was living at Sarnelli House. She was always a helpful and polite young girl. She was eventually reunited with her mother when she was about 12 years of age, and they have lived together at the end of their village where they were pushed to, when it was first found out they had AIDS. Ying now wants to be a nurse, however there may be more hurdles for Ying to jump over, as nursing students are tested for HIV on enrolment to the school and are not allowed entry if they are HIV positive. Other options will have to be considered such as supporting Ying to study nursing overseas. She is a polite, clever and beautiful young lady who helps out at Sarnelli when she can and is a credit to her mother and all those who through their generosity have supported Sarnelli House over the years.

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