at a Time
Janepicha's resume reads more like someone three times her age. To date, she has gone to high school at the prestigious Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific in Canada, volunteered in Uganda, and studied for a semester in France in addition to completing three degree programs at Westminster, and these are only a few of her accomplishments. All of this has prepared her for something even bigger.
At 23, Bambi—as her family and friends call her—is a human rights champion. Hailing from Thailand’s second largest city, Chiang Mai, Bambi grew up watching her parents help others and was inspired by their volunteerism. After attending a high school in Canada for which she was selected by a national Thai committee, she spent a year in Uganda promoting AIDS awareness, volunteer teaching in rural areas, and building homes for orphans.
“I learned a lot of things and became more independent,” Bambi said. “It shaped my goals to do something about human rights.”
Bambi came to Westminster after her year in Uganda with minimal expectations. She had lived in the most basic way, without luxury items like a clothes washing machine, and learned to appreciate everything around her.
“Westminster is small, and the friendliness of the staff helped me with the culture shock,” she said. “If I had gone to a bigger school, I would have been lost.”
At Westminster, Bambi continued to help people, like the tsunami victims in Southeast Asia in 2005, by organizing a benefit concert to support doctors and psychologists from the University of Missouri who went to Asia to aid children who had been traumatized by the disaster.
“Looking back, it wasn’t so polished, but I’m really glad I did it,” she said. Though there was more to organizing the charity event and fundraising than she realized, Bambi's can-do attitude has complemented her human rights efforts and set the stage for further endeavors.
Through a $10,000 grant from the Kathryn W. Davis 100 Projects for Peace, she and a group of friends from Westminster worked with people with mental disabilities in her home country last summer. She has also brought her enthusiasm to the Westminster campus. In the spring of 2008, she organized the human rights week on campus with help and inspiration from Courtney Swan, director of community action and service-learning for the Center for Leadership & Service.
“She has been my friend, as well as my mentor,” Bambi said. Courtney has shown Bambi that even though things don’t always go as planned, the end result can be just as rewarding. She has also taught her the value of being flexible and adjusting to fit the needs of the situation.
“Small things make me realize, ‘Wow! I have been given a lot at Westminster,’ ” Bambi said. Students can organize and use resources, they are empowered.
“I can see the change, the difference I’m making,” she says,
“even if I change
one person’s perspective -
that’s important enough.”