Glasshouse Christian College Principal - Mike Curtis

Tragedy to triumph – the (almost) untold story

The story of the boys trapped in the Thai cave and their subsequent rescue touched the hearts of us all. It was a story of tragedy to triumph as the boys and their coach were rescued in what seemed like impossible odds. We grieved when we learned of diver Saman Kunan’s death and rejoiced when the boys and their coach were safely rescued.

Within this story of tragedy to triumph there is another one. We’ve all heard of Adul Sam-on, the 14-year-old boy who was the only one of the group to speak English. The first divers to reach the boys were British and didn’t speak a word of Thai so Adul’s English was essential in communicating to the divers the group’s situation and then pass onto the soccer team what was happening with the rescue plans.thai cave rescue

Adul’s big smile and polite greeting in such frightening, life threatening circumstances have become famous but what is not famous is how Adul came to be the only one of the group who could speak English.

Eight years previously Adul’s mum and dad dropped him at a Thai Baptist church and asked the pastor and his wife to care for him. Adul’s family are from Myanmar’s self-governing Wa region which is not recognised by the government and is known for drug trafficking and guerrilla warfare. This means that Adul is a displaced person (along with 400,000 other Thai) who doesn’t have a birth certificate, cannot legally marry, get a job, have a bank account, travel, own property or vote.

This is a situation that would depress most people, let alone a six-year-old who just said goodbye to his parents. Adul faced the challenge head-on and determined to excel in everything he did. Adul speaks five languages, has won trophies for every sport from volleyball to futsal and is a straight A student.

Now, at 14 years old Adul is the smiling, polite boy who was instrumental in the rescue of his friends and coach on the soccer team. What an incredible example to us all!

We can’t all be heroes like Adul but we can all help people like Adul become heroes. Adul has been a sponsor child with Compassion since the age of seven. It was his sponsors and a caring Christian family that helped him become the person he is today.

Child sponsorship is life-changing for the children receiving the benefits and for the sponsors providing them. It is an excellent opportunity for families to teach their children about others less fortunate than themselves, encourage thankfulness and build awareness. Think about if it is something your family can do to help another Adul be a hero.

Mike Curtis, Principal

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