My hero is a man who has given life to over 1,000 young children in Thailand. His love for children has shown through his work and willingness to put everything aside to save lives. Sompop Jantraka has taken young girls and boys off the streets to protect them from prostitution. He has saved them from lives in brothels and the dangers of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. He is a man who has been through a lot to get where he is today.
Sompop Jantraka currently is living in Mae Sai, a town in northern Thailand. He is from Surat Thani in the south of Thailand. As a kid he roamed the streets and lived a life of poverty. “Sompop wasn’t the kind of kid anyone expected to grow up to be a hero.” (Horn, 2006, p. 1) It was not until an American woman gave him the chance to get an education and gave him the confidence and knowledge that he could make something of himself that his life found a purpose. Since then, he has worked hard to do the same thing for other young children.
He is the founder of Development and Education Programme for Daughters and Communities. It is a program that gives young children, who live in poverty, the chance to receive an education to get a good job so that they can help provide for their family and, at the same time, stay away from Thai brothels, which only want to use these children as sex slaves. Ampha Srivichai said, “He is the one who gives new life to several children who think they are worthless… He gives everything, love, willpower, so they can fight for their own life.” (Mintier, 2002, p. 2) Ampha is one of many young girls who have been saved by Sompop Jantraka.
|Sompop Jantraka with Children from DEPDC |
As a result of Sompop’s movement, people in Thailand are now speaking out against child trafficking. He has improved our world today by making it a priority to stop child trafficking. He is important to me because he has a passion for unfortunate children who are born into poverty and have nowhere to go. He has provided for these young kids and helped them make better lives for themselves. He has done what the world needs to do more of. Sompop is my hero because he is working towards saving the next generation.
|Sompop Jantraka with more children (http://www.co-operaid.ch/cms/43896.jpg)|
Creekmore, T. (2005). Meet The New Heroes: Sompop Jantraka. The New Heroes, Retrieved October 10, 2007, from http://www.pbs.org/opb/thenewheroes/meet/sompop.html
Horn, R. (2006). Setting free the slaves. Time, Retrieved October 10, 2007, from http://www.time.com/time/asia/features/heroes/sompop.html
Mintier, T. (2002). Humble Thai ‘hero’ tackles child prostitution. CNN, Retrieved October 10, 2007, from http://archives.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/asiapcf/southeast/04/29/thai.sompop/