We’re taking you inside nine-year-old Songwut’s remote tribal village in Thailand’s western jungle.

Life in Kotah is a different world: a world without electricity and phone reception, where elephants were once essential to the village’s survival, and accessing education was a hard-fought battle. The children here have big dreams, and Compassion and the church are making sure there is a committed community to turn those dreams into reality.

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Elephants used to be essential to the survival of the village. With no roads, elephants would transport food, building materials, and any anything else not able to be produced locally by the villagers.

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This little guy’s gumboots were getting in the way of his mission to get muddy! Playing in the rice paddies after school is a favourite game for the children of Kotah.

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Life in Kotah is communal. Villagers do most things together, including encouraging the education of their children. Here, the community works together to plant their rice paddies. With no electricity, they use a human-powered machine to mill the rice.

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Until recently, Kotah had a school but no teacher. The village's remote location meant government-hired teachers often refused to make the journey and the children quickly fell behind. Fon is one of two educators Compassion and the local church employed to teach children in Kotah so the kids receive the education they deserve.

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Songwut's father has one dream for his son—that he would go to school. Thanks to a mobilisation of the local church, this dream is coming true. Together with his classmates, Songwut lays on the rug in the middle of the classroom, learning exciting new things from their teacher.

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These are the attentive faces of kids who have access to reliable education for the first time in their lives. "The change in the children is heartening," says Sayan, a Compassion staff member. "We have some geniuses here!"

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Now the school in her village has reliable teachers, this little one will never know the frustration and sadness of missing out on an education. And that's the way it should be.

Sponsor a child and give them the opportunity to receive an education.

Words by Zoe Noakes and Monique Wallace

Photos and field interviews by Jonathan L. Suwaratana

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