WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY? When my Dad bought me a new uniform for my first day in nursery. It was really hard to get a uniform and I was the only one in my class who had one. I felt really lucky.
THREE WORDS YOUR FRIENDS WOULD USE TO DESCRIBE YOU: Chill, crazy, cool.
WHO INSPIRES YOU? My dad: he is a strong person, who can make me cry easily when he is disappointed and he can make me happy when he is pleased with me. He is wise and I always like to ask his advice when I am trying to make a decision.
WHAT IS THE ONE THING THAT ISN’T TAUGHT IN SCHOOL, BUT SHOULD BE? How to talk to strangers. It’s not easy and everyone just expects that you can do it.
IF YOU COULD DO ANYTHING YOU WANTED NOW, WHAT WOULD IT BE? If I could do anything now, I would be a counsellor. I want to help people who are sad become better, and help people to make good choices. But if I was going to die in the next two minutes I’d just grab the person next to me and tell them I love them!
WHAT PLACE WOULD YOU LIKE TO VISIT? A sunflower farm. When I am in a sunflower farm I feel like anything in the world is possible. We have to look at the sun - when we see the light, it tells us we are alive and powerful to help people.
SPIRIT ANIMAL? Elephant. When I see an elephant I see myself, because they move slowly and eat everything, just like me.
LEAST FAVORITE ANIMAL? Snakes. I hate the way they move. And they’re dangerous, obviously!
WHAT’S THE BEST FOOD YOU’VE EVER HAD? Omelette. So simple and so delicious.
WHAT IS THE STRANGEST THING YOU HAVE EATEN? Monkey. It is a traditional food here. I was 13 and after I ate it I felt very sad and sick. I wanted to know what it tasted like but when I read that monkeys are from the same family as humans I felt really bad.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST FEATURE? People say I am strong; inside, I don’t feel strong, but I guess maybe I am. Also, I think my eyebrows are good!
WHAT’S THE HARDEST THING YOU HAVE EVER DONE? Trying to build my dreams and make them come true.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY? English camp. It was so fun… I learned more English, made loads of new friends, and learned more about love.
THREE WORDS YOUR FRIENDS WOULD USE TO DESCRIBE YOU: Strong, funny and crazy
WHO INSPIRES YOU? My mother inspires me because she’s such a strong woman.
WHAT IS THE ONE THING THAT ISN’T TAUGHT IN SCHOOL, BUT SHOULD BE? How to survive in society - pay bills, get a job, that kind of thing.
IF YOU COULD DO ANYTHING YOU WANTED NOW, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
WHAT PLACE WOULD YOU LIKE TO VISIT? Australia and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
SPIRIT ANIMAL? Monkey.
LEAST FAVORITE ANIMAL? Snakes. Scary!
WHAT’S THE BEST FOOD YOU’VE EVER HAD? Anything with chilli in it. I like food so spicy, it hurts!
WHAT IS THE STRANGEST THING YOU HAVE EATEN? Nothing is strange to me. Buffalo, insects, intestines: I eat everything.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST FEATURE? My smile is my best feature. When you see my smile you can already tell what kind of person I am.
WHAT’S THE HARDEST THING YOU HAVE EVER DONE? The things I haven’t done before and don’t know how to do are the hardest. Right now I want to travel to Australia!
Nukul, Founder of Chai Lai Sisters
“My name is Nukul, which means ‘kind person’. I grew up in a Karen village 2 hours from Chiang Mai. As a child I wanted to stay in the fields with my mother every day but instead I had to live with my grandfather to study. My village didn’t have a school so I could only visit my parents on weekend - every Friday I was very excited!
I went to middle school in Chiang Dao and I stayed with nuns. The nuns taught about morals, but not much about history, math or anything like that. I stayed with many other girls - we were like sisters. We had to work too and take care of orphan babies with HIV.
I thought maybe they would help me pay for high school but they sent me to a school very far away and only paid for my house and food. After high school I went to San Patong and did a vocational programme about agriculture, but I had to borrow from the bank to go to both schools. I’m still paying my debt even now!
Finally I went to work in my home village. I was a farmer, growing passion fruit, rice and vegetables. I worked so hard but had to wait a long time to sell my passion fruit. It was really, really difficult to make enough money to support my family that way. Every day I had to go and take away the weeds from the crops, spending long hours in the sun, and then I’d sell a kilo of fruit for maybe seven or eight baht.
One day I met my friend, and she told me about Alexa and Daughters Rising. She said Alexa was looking for staff, and she was based in Mae Wang near my home. I was nervous, but I thought about it for one month and then I was brave and went to introduce myself. One week later I heard that I had a job!
Now I have learned so much and I want to help Karen people like me who want a good job. If they stay in the village to work they have to stay there all the time and work so hard, but not for much money. If they are married maybe they have to spend too much time looking after their husbands. At Chai Lai I learned so much: to speak English, to talk to all kinds of people, to cook, to lead. I used to believe that I could not look after myself or be independent; I thought I just had to look after my family and that’s it. I think Chai Lai Sisters can help more women become independent, learn lots and have more opportunities.”
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY? Playing with my brothers while my parents were planting rice.
THREE WORDS YOUR FRIENDS WOULD USE TO DESCRIBE YOU: Hardworking, adorable, and eat-a-lot!
WHO INSPIRES YOU? My father.
WHAT IS THE ONE THING THAT ISN’T TAUGHT IN SCHOOL, BUT SHOULD BE? Women’s health.
IF YOU COULD DO ANYTHING YOU WANTED NOW, WHAT WOULD IT BE? I would like to buy myself a house, and provide my son with a good education.
WHAT PLACE WOULD YOU LIKE TO VISIT? Japan.
SPIRIT ANIMAL? Dog.
WHAT’S THE BEST FOOD YOU’VE EVER HAD? Spicy salad.
WHAT IS THE STRANGEST THING YOU HAVE EATEN? Bee larvae.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST FEATURE? I am a mother.
WHAT’S THE HARDEST THING YOU HAVE EVER DONE? I became a mother very young.