Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Some Obstacles in Thailand

As much as I tried to learn about Thailand before our trip, and even how Compassion is working in Thailand,  it seems now that I'm home, it's all sinking in. Regardless of what you read in a book, there is nothing quite like seeing it with your own eyes and experiencing it first hand.

When it comes to Thailand, here's what we are up against....

approximately 95% of the population (about 69 million) are Buddhist

Most children, including my Orm, are living in a Buddhist-influential environment. Many have parents who are practicing Buddhists. In addition to Buddhism (which is a non-theist religion), animism and spirit worship is also widely practiced.

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."

young girls and boys often become the victims of sexual abuse
This is actually what prompted us to sponsor a child in Thailand. My husband had heard a report about the horrific problem of sex trafficking and prostitution in Thailand and asked me if Compassion worked in Thailand. I went to Compassion's website and the very first child profile that appeared was Orm's - a young girl in Thailand. The children most vulnerable to this kind of activity live in the city slums. 

many ethnic groups live along the border of Thailand ~ 
Compassion has a large presence and ministry to the children living in remote mountain villages near the border of Burma and Laos. Many of these children are from marginalized tribal groups and are not considered Thai citizens. Sometimes they are denied the ability to attend school. The tribes that live in Northern Thailand include the Karen, Hmong, Mien, Akha, Lahu, Lisu, Lawa (my Orm's tribe), Khmu and Mlarbri. Because they are marginalized by the Thai population and government, they are kept in poverty with little hope of advancement. 

We had the awesome privilege of crossing into Burma and meeting some people of the Karen tribe at their idp camp (idp stands for internally displaced people). Burma has had the longest running civil war in history, lasting over 60 years. These people (and many others) have been driven out of their homes and villages by the Burmese army. 

I'll write more about our visit with these beautiful people next time....

Until then, might you consider sponsoring one of these children from Thailand? These children all live in remote mountain villages in northern Thailand, and are likely part of one of the ethnic tribes I've been talking about. The first girl attends the same project as my Orm.

Kannika Lahun
August 20, 2005

Chawalit Papa
November 21, 2010 

Wuttikorn Jasae (Tertoi)
June 30,2010 

Rattikorn Ja-oo (Na-ngha)
September 29, 2010 

To sponsor one of these children, please let me know in the comments or through email fiddlejill(at)outlook(dot)com.

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