|Yuan Wijitram, 66, watches television with her grandchildren in Buriram's Baan Tabek villalge. Yuan sometimes helps babysit her neighbours' grandchildren.© UNICEF Thailand/2012/Athit Perawongmetha|
Story by Alisa Tang
(The story was published in the Bangkok Post newspaper on July 23, 2012)
BURIRAM, Thailand, - Each morning, the elderly women of this sleepy farming village hop on their motorcycles or plod along rural roads to drop off their grandchildren at the village pre-school or at the elementary school. The women tuck a few coins into the children’s pockets for snacks, head home and then return in the afternoon to pick up their charges.
In this village – as in many parts of this northeastern Thai region known as Isaan – a majority of the children’s parents have left them behind for jobs in Thailand’s urban centers, leaving the grandparents – usually the maternal grandmother – to take care of their offspring.