Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Compassion in Thailand

In preparation for our family's trip to Thailand next month, I'm going to do a series of posts about Compassion in Thailand and our sponsored girl, Orm. These might interest you, they might not. Either way, I'm doing it more for myself than anyone else!

Orm, our sponsored child in Thailand, lives in Chang Rai which is located in the northern part of Thailand. I found the following information on Compassion's website...Compassion in Thailand

Overview: Northern Thailand

Thailand’s northern region is divided into two areas: the lower plains and the upper mountains along the border with Myanmar and Laos. The north is home to several ethnic hill tribes and the total population of these ethnic groups is about 1 million. Sadly, these people — many of whom are refugees from Myanmar and Laos — suffer severe discrimination, even from the Thai government.
During the rainy season — June to October — northern villagers face the threat of flooding. It is particularly hazardous in the mountains, where landslides commonly destroy villagers’ fragile homes and block roads. The opposite problem, drought, is common during the dry months of March through May.
In the forested north, mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria are common, as are diseases caused by the consumption of contaminated water. However, the village health centers are small and not equipped to treat anything other than minor injuries or illnesses.

Working Through the Local Church

In Thailand, as in each country where Compassion ministers, our program of assisting children in need is carried out through local churches. That’s because local church staff know well their community and its needs, and they are dedicated to the church’s God-given role of bringing justice, hope and redemption to the poor.
One Compassion center director says, “Some parents may be skeptical about our program, but when we tell them about the benefits for their children – such as the health checkups, free meals, and educational activities – they don’t have any problems. They know we will be teaching their children about Christ, but they trust that we will not coerce them into conversion.”

How Compassion Works in Thailandthailand north compassion in thailand

Compassion's work in Thailand began in 1970. Currently, more than 36,700 children are registered in 228 church-based child development centers.
For more than 40 years, Compassion has been partnering with local churches, helping them provide Thai children with the material resources and learning opportunities they need to rise above their circumstances and become all that God has created them to be.

The Role of a Partnership Facilitator

As a Partnership Facilitator for Compassion Thailand, Kanokwan summarizes her role: “I guide churches in their partnership with Compassion and encourage them to fight for the children with the resources they have.”
Currently, Kanokwan oversees 13 church-based child development centers. Getting to these centers can be a challenge – nine hours on a bus, three hours on a van and another hour of walking. But Kanokwan doesn’t complain. “My favorite part of the job is visiting children’s homes with center staff members,” she says. “It is encouraging to see staff interacting with children and parents with such love and care. It affirms why I serve at Compassion – to create choices and provide hope for the future to the children.”

Life in Northern Thailand

The northern region of Thailand borders Laos and Myanmar. Along these mountainous borders, the climate is more variable than in other regions of the country. In the winter, temperatures can dip to 40 degrees, and flooding during the annual rainy season can be disastrous in this region.
Northern Thailand is also varied in the population’s ethnic composition. Tribes that live here include the Karen, Hmong, Mien, Akha, Lahu, Lisu, Lawa, Khmu and Mlabri. These tribes have their own languages and customs. They are, however, widely discriminated against by the majority Thai population and by the government. This marginalization keeps them mired in poverty with little hope of advancement.
As throughout Thailand, Buddhism is the primary faith in the north. But Christianity is growing, and about 10 percent of this region’s people follow Christ.

Children at Home

Homes in Thailand’s northern villages are made of bamboo, with thatched roofs. They have one common room that serves as the living, sleeping and cooking area for a family of four or five members.
In the northern cities, families of Compassion-assisted children live in rough cement or wooden homes with corrugated iron roofs. Unlike homes in the remote villages, these typically have access to electricity and a water supply.

Just reading through this helps me understand where I'm headed a little better.

Do you sponsor a child in Thailand? If so, where?

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