Norwich couple united with Thai teenager after a decade of sponsorship

Cake and Paul Coleman in Thailand. Picture: Compassion UK

Cake and Paul Coleman in Thailand. Picture: Compassion UK - Credit: Archant

A couple from Norwich have been united with the Thai teenager they have been sponsoring for more than a decade through child development charity Compassion UK.

Paul and Linda Colena, who work at Soul Church in north Norwich, have been sponsoring Jeeraporn, who goes by the name of 'Cake' since she was a child and this is the third time they have to met her face-to-face.

'Meeting Cake in person has been a life changing experience, with each visit we have got to learn more about her and her family and it's really helped bring the details in her letters to life,' said Mrs Coleman, 58. 'We love seeing how she has grown into a beautiful, young woman and hearing how she has progressed in school and in her project.

'Through our visits, we have also got to know her project staff and they are a true inspiration. They are so dedicated to their work and passionate about children reaching their full potential.'

Mr Coleman, 63, added: 'Cake lives in a very simple wooden home on stilts. Her family doesn't own a lot of possessions but the home is kept very neat and tidy. As a father myself, it was great to get to know Cake's dad, even though we didn't speak the same language I felt there was a bond there.

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'Sadly he had been suffering from liver cancer and passed away after we had returned to the UK. I know this time will be extremely difficult for the family, but we are glad our sponsorship will help take some of the burden off Cake's mum who earns around £4 a day farm labouring,' reflects Paul who also works at Soul Church.

15-year-old Cake, lives in the hillside community of Bang Yang Pattana, Noen Laung and Namlad, home to approximately 900 residents. Typically houses are constructed of wood and have corrugated tin roofs. Most adults work on plantations and earn the equivalent of £40 per month.

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The Coleman's sponsorship of £25 a month per child enables Cake to receive meals, emotional support, medical attention and good quality education.

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