As a kid growing up in a small village in Laos, Noy heard plenty of stories about the attractions of Thailand.
Most of them centred on glamorous jobs that were well paid and just waiting for girls like her, so when Noy became 16, she decided to make the short trip across the border.
Poverty played a big part in pushing her to leave home. Noy’s parents could only afford to pay for her education up to primary school, so her options for supporting herself and her family were limited.
When Noy arrived in Thailand, she discovered that to some extent the stories she had heard were true. There were jobs and Noy found one – working in a factory making cookies outside Bangkok.
But there was nothing sweet about this unglamorous position. Noy found herself working 16 hours a day under the scrutiny of a demanding boss.
‘The work was very hard for me and I was always so tired,’ said Noy, who looks back on her year in Thailand as the most challenging 12 months of her young life.
Noy was fortunate. She managed to leave her employers and also to evade the attentions of people traffickers who prey on girls like her.
But when she made it home to her village, relief was tempered with worry about how she would survive financially. It was then she heard about an opportunity being offered by Tearfund partner World Concern.
It runs job skills courses for young people in Noy’s community, covering subjects such as baking, motorcycle repairs (bikes are endemic in this part of the world), hair-cutting and sewing.