First Person: Letters from prison7/18/2012
Editor’s Note: Yada* and Maliwan* are prisoners at a Juvenile Detention Center in Thailand. Because they have little education and few job skills, they are at-risk for trafficking and prostitution upon their release from prison. These are their stories.
THAILAND -- My name is Yada. We have three sisters in my family, but we were separated. I am an orphan with no father and no mother. I have no one, except for my grandmother who took care of me. I am alone with no one I can depend on.
My grandmother sent me to school until grade nine. In the first term, I had a boyfriend. I went to my boyfriend’s house and did not go to school for many days. My grandmother found me at his house. She slapped my face many times.
I understand why she hit me because I made myself bad. I felt that I was wrong to make her sad and I cried. But she did not listen to me and did not allow me to extend my studies. She commanded me to take all my clothes out of her house, and I went to live with my boyfriend. At that time, I cried and wanted to do nothing.
When I lived with him for a short time I learned that his family sold drugs. Because my life was bad, I decided to sell drugs, too. But I did not use the drugs. I was afraid. Because I wanted to have more and more things, I decided to deliver drugs. I was arrested with my boyfriend, and we were sentenced to The Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection for the drug offenses of (delivering) 24,000 tablets.
Since that day I feel like I am alone. I have no one and no encouragement. Now I am living with suffering; I do not know when I will make up for all of my sin. Sometimes I think about killing myself because I do not want to continue living. It seems I have no one left. I do not know what to do. I am so discouraged.
My name is Maliwan. I was born on June 6, 1989. I am 22 years old. I was arrested for selling drugs and sentenced for 6 years. I have been here more than 4 years already and will be released in one more month.
I have known Teacher Emma* and Teacher Kate* since they first came to teach at the Center. So, we have known each other for four years. Every teacher has a good heart and loves us very much, no matter how we behave. Sometimes we are stubborn; we misbehave and we do not pay attention to the lessons. Our teachers have never been angry. I thank God who made me and allowed me to get to know good-hearted teachers.
Whenever I leave here, I think that I will look for a job for myself that I love to do. I am a person who loves children, and I would like to live with children. So, I want to look for job working with children.
I want to make an honest living for myself and care for my aging mother and father. They are very old. I want to pay for my younger sister to study at a higher level.
Pray for the young women attending a Bible study led by Christian workers. Pray that many will come to faith in Jesus.
Thank God that Yada and another young woman prayed to receive Christ through the Bible study. Pray that this will be the beginning of hope for this lonely girl.
Pray for Maliwan as she seeks employment. Pray for her salvation and for strong Christian influences as she begins her new life.
*Names have been changed.
Editor’s Note: Both of these young women are part of an English class taught by Christian workers at the prison. Maliwan was released in December 2011 and is seeking employment. Yada also recently joined a Bible study, and she and another young woman prayed to receive Christ.
For more information on how you can support young women in Thailand's juvenile prisons, contact email@example.com.