"When I was 18, I moved from Bangkok to New York in order to pursue my studies. I remember first arriving in the city and seeing a wealth of lights emanating from the buildings. It was beautiful, yet I felt a rush of loneliness as I was about to settle in a place without my family and friends. Being so far away from home, it was difficult to feel connected to my roots.
Even if I am halfway around the world, it is very important for me to preserve aspects of my Thai culture. I have stuck to the values and morals I was raised with: to be open-hearted to meeting new people, open-minded when learning about their cultures and to put family and loved ones first.
There is a saying, “home is where the heart is”. To me, home is wherever the people I hold dear to my heart are. But unfortunately, this is not a comfort that everyone is afforded. There are millions of stateless people out there who are not given the right to a place they can call home.
I was born and raised in a country which evolved rapidly. Bangkok is a bustling, modernised city, but the moment you step outside of the city, it is akin to walking into another world. There are millions of people living in poverty and squalor- people who have no voice. That's why I founded Voices Organisation with the mission to uplift the lives of abused women and children, especially those who are stateless.
My obligations and loyalties lie with my family, my country, and to the world. My mission in life is to make those around me proud of who they are, and know that they are not alone. I want to live in a world where women and children are accepted for who they are, and not marginalised because of where they were born.
Even though we are from all walks of life, we can and should always lean on each other. I want to be a voice for those without one, and for those who are struggling to establish the lives they deserve."
Kamolnan Chearavanont founded the Voices Organisation when she was 14 and she also serves as a One Young World Ambassador. This story was provided by i am a migrant's partner, One Young World.