The Story of a Street Orphan Who Built a Children’s Charity
By Chantal Jauvin
HOW ONE BOY ROSE FROM THE DEPTHS OF DESPAIR TO GIVE LIFE,
EDUCATION AND HOPE TO THOUSANDS
The Untold Life Story of the Founder of FORDEC (Foundation for the Rehabilitation and Development of Children and Family)
REVIEW: A wonderful book written by Chantal Jauvin about the story of Dr. Amporn Wathanavongs. The writing style by Mrs. Jauvin is perfect, creating the perfect balance between a biography and a storyteller. From the very first line we are immersed within the beautiful and inspiring story, showing us that when you have a bamboo heart everything is possible. This is a book that every child should read and learn from. Generosity can be afforded by anyone. If you want to travel in a world where love reigns, read this book.
At 5 years old, Dr. Amporn Wathanavongs was thrust into the world alone. After the death of his mother, Lek (his street name) became an orphan in a remote village in rural Thailand, forced to beg and steal for food to stay alive. His endless struggle for survival continued as a boy soldier, battling vicious enemies in the Cambodian jungle. When despair and poverty led him to attempt suicide, a stranger intervened with an offer of help. With a new lease on life, Lek was determined to transform his fate, defeat his demons, and find his true calling. Now known as “the foster father to 50,000 children,” Dr. Amporn’s story has remained untold. Until now.
The Boy with a Bamboo Heart: The Story of a Street Orphan Who Built a Children’s Charity, by Chantal Jauvin, describes Dr. Amporn’s journey to become one of Thailand’s most generous benefactors. In the face of unspeakable adversity, Dr. Amporn’s courageous mission to save the sick, poor, and destitute children of Thailand is a powerful reminder that we all possess the potential to make a difference.
“Even though I started with nothing, I’ve always thought that whatever life brings, you must help others,” says Dr. Amporn. “When you die, you cannot bring anything with you. So knowing that you have helped others because you have received help from others, well, that’s enough.”
While visiting the four children her then-fiancé had been sponsoring at the Foundation for the Rehabilitation and Development of Children and Family (FORDEC), she met Dr. Amporn as the charity’s founder. It was perhaps serendipitous that by the end of their day together Jauvin was asked by Dr. Amporn to tell his story. Jauvin’s profound mission became capturing the life of a man whose tale is one that the world must know.
“The world has much need for everyday heroes,” says Jauvin. “Dr. Amporn did not set out to be a hero, but he became one by the choices he made in dire situations, and because he cared for something greater than himself. That is within reach for everybody. Let his story serve as inspiration.”
Throughout the riveting pages of The Boy with a Bamboo Heart, readers discover:
The harrowing experiences of children caught in warfare and forced to become soldiers out of necessity
The human spirit is resilient enough to overcome adversity, even the most unspeakable circumstances
How education can play a pivotal role in escaping the depths of poverty
Why everyone should be empowered to take charge of their lives and become actively engaged in the causes in which they believe
How Dr. Amporn has been able to offer hope and courage to the many unfortunates of the world, so they may stand up and fight for their lives and find happiness
“Visions become dreams—which so often, no matter how ridiculed, no matter how seemingly impossible from so many angles—have ways of coming true,” says Dr. Amporn. “And dreams are the purview of the poor; they do not cost anything, yet they keep you alive.”
Chantal Jauvin is an international attorney who has combined her passion for experiencing other cultures with her pursuit of a global legal career. She has lived in Japan, Mexico, Cambodia, Russia, Austria, taking shorter assignments in Vietnam while pursuing her MBA studies in the UK. She has negotiated in Paris, Buenos Aires, and Sao Paulo often enough to almost call these cities home. Igniting her lifelong enthusiasm for language and other societies, she has turned her attention to writing in her quest to understand how our souls are touched by the blended world in which we live. Jauvin currently resides with her husband in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.