On January 27th, 2008, my life changed forever.
That was when I met a little five- year- old girl named Woun who had been working in a temple carving flowers for about a year. I helped her obtain her freedom.
My Thai attorney advised me to return to the temple. That was NOT an option, so I started the process of looking for options I could live with. Here was this child: no papers, no possessions. But she was the owner of the most beautiful smile. She had eyes full of hope, energy, love, and fright. She loved steak and hated the fries; she spoke a dialect of Burmese/Thai. Getting a hug was new experience for her. She longed for her sister and her parents. She told us that they had died from eating vegetables.
So here I was in Thailand, with a child that was teaching me the value of life itself in a way that only she could. I needed to know more about her past to try to construct her future. Her parents were most probably murdered. They died in February 2007 of toxic poisoning. Her sister was a creation of her imagination.
It has been 4 Years, now this little angel is now in a private school in Bangkok, adopted by a family. Now she has a real little sister .She has danced for the king, she swims at school, and she wakes up singing.
In the process of navigating the system to give these Woun a chance in life, I got to meet and spend time at the “The Children of the Forest” (COF); Safe Haven Orphanage (SHO); AGAPE Orphanage and learning center and a refugee camp in Mae Hong Son.
There is so much more we need to do to help these children. Please join us on the journey to bring Freedom to all the Wouns out there.
- Harold Engel