Compassion started working in Thailand in 1970. Today, there are over 47,000 children registered in our programs through 188 church partners.
of children experience moderate or severe growth stunting
of people live below the poverty line
of children are married by 18 years of age
Thailand was an absolute monarchy until 1932, when it became a constitutional monarchy. It’s the only country in southeast Asia that has never been colonised, but that doesn’t mean it has been free from political struggle. Indeed, Thailand has a long history of military coups; Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha himself seized power in a military coup that ousted Yingluck Shinawatra in 2014.
The first election since 2011 is due in March 2019 and the mood is volatile; the Prime Minister is seen as likely to retain power, but an anti-junta mood is taking hold.
Despite political uncertainty, Thailand has experienced rapid social and economic development in recent years, changing from an agricultural-based to an industrial-based economy. However, inequalities in socio-economic welfare still remain, caused by disparities in the distribution of wealth, environmental degradation and the effects of urbanisation. The people groups living in the nation’s northern- and western-most regions are particularly affected, due to a combination of a lack of infrastructure and services and their status as ethnic minorities.
Up to half of these ethnic minority hill tribe members don’t have citizenship papers, meaning they cannot own land or travel freely between districts and have no access to social welfare services. This makes them vulnerable to a clutch of issues: poor health care and education, unemployment and economic poverty, even trafficking and threats of displacement. Yet, lacking citizenship, they lack representation and face a long road to economic and social equality.
The coming election looms as an important moment of reflection for Thailand but the local church will continue to be critically important in caring for the people of these forgotten communities, especially the children.
Dear Sponsor, Greetings from Thailand! My name is Sanya Ladaphongpattana. I have been the Country Director of Compassion Thailand for 14 years. I was born and grew up in a Christian family as a missionaries’ kid. My parents came from China and served the Lord here since 1962 to bring the Gospel to remote villages where there were no Christians.open_in_new Read full letter
Autumporn prefers to go by her nickname, “Gai”, as is the custom in Thailand. Gai literally means “chicken”; it doesn’t describe her in the least. She’s a pioneer. Born in Por Nor Tha, a small mountain village accessible only by a footpath carved out of the mountain by Japanese soldiers in the Second World War, Gai’s future was all but settled. What’s a village girl to do but marry and provide for her husband and family until she is old?open_in_new Read more