A confident and friendly student, Kannika* joined The Freedom Story’s scholarship program when she was 15. Her father had passed away, and her remaining family of six were surviving on $10 per day. As a member of an ethnic minority group she faced higher risk of trafficking and exploitation because of discrimination and lower social status.
In high school, Kannika moved into a Christian dormitory because it was closer to school and she was fighting with her mom constantly. As time went on, she began to exhibit symptoms of depression. Kannika has strong emotions, which can change quickly. Exhausted and stressed constantly, Kannika came to counseling with Khae, The Freedom Story’s on staff counselor. Khae accompanied Kannika to visit the doctor, who diagnosed her with clinical depression and prescribed medicine.
When Emotional Support Disappears
It seemed like things were getting better for Kannika. Then one year on Mother’s Day, her mother did not come to her school or to visit her at her dorm. Sad and confused, Kannika began engaging in self-harm. Her dorm supervisors and other students intervened to stop her.
Kannika, who was now graduating from high school, shared with Khae that she was very stressed about what to do next. None of her friends were continuing their education. Her mother had told her the family had no money to support her education, and wanted her to find a job rather than continue studying.
The lack of support from her family upset her. She was tired, confused, and unmotivated. She wasn’t sure what she wanted but told Khae she had decided not to go to university.
What Positive Emotional Support Can Accomplish
Khae talked to Kannika about how her life would be if she decided not to study: what would she do, what would her life look like? She asked about her dreams and goals, and how she would design her life if she had the chance.
Kannika is very gifted in her language abilities and is a great student. Khae praised her abilities and explained that her English and Chinese language skills would give her many opportunities in the future if she continued her education. After three counseling sessions, Kannika decided to continue her education in International English at a university in Chiang Rai.
Kannika’s symptoms are also improving. The doctor has decreased her prescription, and she now comes regularly to the Resource Center to spend time with Khae and other Freedom Story staff. She also joins in counseling activities like art therapy every time they are offered. She’s even invited friends along to join in.
The Freedom Story staff will continue to support and guide Kannika as she transitions into University. During visits to her home and dorm, we’ll work to help her and the community around her understand depression and provide her with tools to foster resilience.
What Does All This Mean?
Mental health issues place students at-risk of trafficking because they cause isolation and low self-worth. Low levels of education are also linked to trafficking. With your support, we can continue to offer counseling and mentorship to students like Kannika.
*Name has been changed and photo is not representative of the story subject to protect identity.
If you want to help vulnerable children like Kannika, all you have to do is invest in our prevention programs–a powerful tool for you to help Kannika and her peers with the best chance they have to protect themselves from exploitation. Donate through One Day’s Wages and help us reach our goal of $50,000, which goes straight to helping kids like Kannika live a life free from trafficking and exploitation!