56 year old Soraya is a teacher at the Adventist Ekamai School (AES) in Thailand and mother to three children. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread closures in the country, Soraya has been unemployed and will continue to be until Thai schools are set to re-open in July 2020 pending Government approval. Her husband is a taxi driver, but there are very few customers these days. With little available work, they struggle financially to make ends meet.
At ADRA Thailand, staff have been working on a COVID-19 response to assist refugees and marginalized Thai nationals. ADRA’s Program Coordinator Tedgrit Promicpic from the Bangkok Urban Marginalised People project got in contact with Soraya to volunteer in ADRA’s response to assist refugee families. Tedgrit told Soraya “we want to distribute 100 cloth masks to the refugee families and the marginalized Thai locals, and you would be a help since you have sewing skills”.
Tedgrit was first introduced to Soraya through a Bible Worker at the Thailand Adventist Mission Office. After meeting and getting to know each other, Tedgrit commented; “Soraya is passionate in helping people. She used to distribute cooked food packages and used clothes to people in need in the provinces with her church members”.
Soraya pulled out her sewing machine and made 100 cloth masks at the cost of 18 baht each and delivered the full order on 24 April to the ADRA office. “I have never made cloth masks so I watched tutorials on Youtube and tried making them. I do sewing, but it is for students special events, curtains or sheets”, Soraya said.
Since Soraya delivered her first order, she gets more requests from ADRA and others. “I make 25-30 face masks per day on average. My sewing machine is a cheaper one, so it gets heated pretty quickly. Every now and then, I need to stop till it cools down, and then I start sewing again”.
Soraya and her family have also received food packages from ADRA Thailand to ease their economic situation. Soraya reflected; “Thank you to Mr Tedgrit who brought love and food packages from ADRA to our family. It is a very precious thing. God bless you all”.
“We know God, but we worry. If we have God we have to pray and trust that God will take care of us. God can give anything because God has the right way and the right time to help us. With whatever we have we should help others in need, because God will provide our needs too. By helping others, we let others know they can trust the love of God through us. I am happy that I can be a means to help others in need”. Soraya, ADRA Thailand Volunteer and Beneficiary
ADRA Thailand’s ‘Bangkok Urban Marginalized People’ project has distributed 20 food packages to refugee families in Bangkok in partnership with the Bangkok International Church on March 26-27 and April 10 2020. The food packages included; oranges, potatoes, tomatoes, 1 bottle of oil, onion, garlic, sugar, ginger, soap, sanitary pads, ear buds and bleach. For families with babies, milk was included as an additional item. 20 food packages were also given to Thai security guards and maids including; 1 5kg rice bag, 1 pack of instant noodles, 4 cans of sardines, and 1 bottle of oil.
*Original story collected by Lal Suan Mawi, ADRA Thailand