Rachel Treloar in Thailand
In her own words, Rachel Treloar describes her trip to Thailand, and how it shaped her outlook on human rights.
As I flip through my German-English dictionary for the thousandth time in search of some forgotten word for my assignment, I'm taken back to Thailand's rugged but fertile northern highlands. That's where my dictionary skills were tested to their speedy perfection during my Webster University Human Rights Field Experience, in the summer of 2011. That's also where Janjira lives. Janjira is my friend from the Karen Tribe, who grew up just barely on the Thai side of the Burmese Thailand border. We would spend hours together, pouring through the Thai-English dictionary in search of the words that would fill in the gaps between my poor Thai skills and her nearly complete, but not perfect English. Janjira is a senior in high school this year, living hours away from her village in the Baha'i Community Center and Youth Hostel for underprivileged hill tribe students in Omkoi, Thailand. Her biggest dream is to graduate from high school with grades that are good enough to merit scholarships to Chiang Mai University. After this year, she will be one of the first in her village to complete a high school education, but she would be the first ever to graduate from university.