Norwich couple return from visiting their sponsored child in Thailand

Norwich couple return from visiting their sponsored child in Thailand

Paul and Linda Coleman have just returned from Thailand where they met the teenager they have been sponsoring since childhood through child development charity Compassion UK.

The couple from Norwich who attend Soul Church, a Hillsong family church, located in the North of Norwich city centre have been sponsoring Jeeraporn, who goes by the name of “Cake” for almost ten years and this is the third time they have to met her face-to-face.

“Meeting Cake in person has been a life changing experience, with each visit we have got to learn more about her and her family and it’s really helped bring the details in her letters to life.  We love seeing how she has grown into a beautiful, young woman and hearing how she has progressed in school and in her project.

Through our visits, we have also got to know her project staff and they are a true inspiration. They are so dedicated to their work and passionate about children reaching their full potential,” shares 58-year-old Linda, who works as an office manager at Soul Church.

63-year Paul explains, “Cake lives in a very simple wooden home on stilts. Her family doesn’t own a lot of possessions but the home is kept very neat and tidy. As a father myself, it was great to get to know Cake’s dad, even though we didn’t speak the same language I felt there was a bond there.

“Sadly he had been suffering from liver cancer and passed away after we had returned to the UK. I know this time will be extremely difficult for the family, but we are glad our sponsorship will help take some of the burden off Cake’s mum who earns around £4 a day farm labouring,” reflects Paul who also works at Soul Church.

15-year-old Cake, lives in the hillside community of Bang Yang Pattana, Noen Laung and Namlad, home to approximately 900 residents. Typically houses are constructed of wood and have corrugated tin roofs. Most adults work on plantations and earn the equivalent of £40 per month.

Thailand has one of the highest literacy rates in Southeast Asia, children have free access to primary school, but only a minority of students living in impoverished communities complete the next six years of secondary education.

The Coleman’s sponsorship enables Cake to be part of her local Compassion project where she receives nutritious meals, emotional support, medical attention and the chance to get a good quality education.

“We would encourage anybody to sponsor, it’s so easy to spend the equivalent of sponsorship on coffees, magazines and treats without really thinking about it. But for the same cost each month you could change a child’s life and make a real difference, not only to them but their whole family,” the couple conclude.

Becca Stanley

Words by Becca Stanley


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Compassion UK Christian Child Development, registered charity in England and Wales (1077216) and Scotland (SC045059). A company limited by guarantee, Registered in England and Wales company number 03719092. Registered address: Compassion House, Barley Way, Fleet, Hampshire, GU51 2UT.