Latest update

Thailand was the first country outside China to record a COVID-19 case in January 2020. Since this time, COVID-19 cases have spread rapidly throughout the country. Hospitals have been inundated with patients requiring care and have struggled to cope with the dramatic increase in cases. Stay-at-home orders were in place for most Thai provinces at varying points throughout the pandemic. Though positive cases are persisting, the country has plans to reopen to international tourists in an effort to stimulate its troubled economy.

Our local church partners in Thailand have worked tirelessly to continue supporting children in poverty during the pandemic. Most child development centres are now able to meet in small groups. Some have resumed their usual activities. Since the beginning of the pandemic, local workers have delivered over 340,000 food packs and 141,000 hygiene kits to vulnerable families.

Watch the latest video update below from our neighbours in Thailand to learn more.

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Country update

How is Compassion currently operating in Thailand?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    Most child development centres are able to meet in small groups. A few rural centres are limited to distance-only. Staff members from all centres continue to check on families and ensure that their needs are being met.

  • Are children receiving letters?

    Letters are currently being delivered in Thailand, although delivery to and from your sponsored child may take a bit longer than normal. We encourage you to continue writing, as all children need words of hope and encouragement now more than ever before. Thank you for writing!

  • Are gifts being delivered?

    Gifts continue to be distributed in Thailand. Staff members have been given the option to disburse monetary gifts to caregivers, where appropriate. This applies to family gifts and child gifts (including birthday and final gifts). Families may spend the gift on whatever they consider most important to meet family needs. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognising that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

How you can pray

Thank you for praying for children and families in Thailand who have been impacted by COVID-19—and the local staff and churches who continue to serve them in difficult circumstances.

Please join us in praying for the following:

  • Pray that God would continue to show Suradet and his parents how much God loves them.
  • Pray for God's continued blessing and provision for Puttida as she uses the skills she has learned at the centre to help provide for her family.
  • Pray for encouragement and motivation for Suttida as she attends university to become a nurse.
  • Pray that God would bless the local church partners as they continue to care for children and families in their communities.
  • Pray that God’s continued protection would be with the staff and volunteers who live in or travel to high-risk areas.
  • Pray for unity and effective collaboration for the National Leadership Team as they make decisions for the future.
  • Pray for wisdom and discernment for Thailand’s leaders as they seek economic stability and ways to prevent COVID-19 from spreading.
Providing for their needs in Thailand

Providing for their needs in Thailand

The lockdown restrictions in Thailand to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have left many without a source of income. This has been the reality for Manah, the mother of a Compassion assisted child from a community on the outskirts of Mae Sot.   Read more open_in_new

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Please note: Due to the current pandemic, some child development centres in Thailand remain temporarily closed to group activities. Our local church partners continue to meet the urgent needs of the children through home-based care.

A snapshot of Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program in Thailand

Compassion’s program is contextualised across countries and communities, as well as age groups.

  • Children aged 1 to 3 receive home-based care.
  • Children aged 3 to 12 visit the Compassion centre for six to eight hours a week on Saturdays or Sundays.
  • Students aged 12 and older attend for four hours on Saturdays or Sundays.
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Compassion Program Activities in Thailand

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Compassion assisted children in Thailand typically attend program activities at their local child development centre on Saturdays and Sundays. Here is an example of what a typical program day looks like for children in Thailand.

8:00am - A time of prayer and devotion.

9:00am - Spiritual lessons, when children sing songs and learn Bible stories.

10:30am - Break time, when children can play in a safe environment and develop friendships. A nutritious snack is provided.

11:00am - Social-emotional lessons, covering topics from conflict resolution to developing healthy self-esteem and a godly character. Children often come from challenging home environments and are taught social and personal skills.

12:00pm - Lunch time, usually a meal of rice, vegetables and meat. Milk is provided for young children. Children who are malnourished receive additional food to take home each month, such as rice, eggs, canned fish and milk.

1:00pm - Health lessons, where children learn practical health and hygiene tips. An example topic is how to prevent malaria and HIV/AIDS transmission.

2:00pm - Letter writing and career planning. Older children work with local staff to identify their strengths and interests, and set goals for their future.

Children in Thailand also participate in extracurricular activities such as games and music, community sports days, as well as community service opportunities such as anti-drug campaigns. These activities are generally held during school holidays.

Every year, parents are offered parenting classes and meetings to inform them about what their children are learning at the child development centre. There are also special events such as Family Camp, Mother's Day and Father's Day. Many programs also offer income-generation training for parents.

The greatest needs impacting children living in poverty in Thailand

7.7%

of children under the age of 5 are underweight.

9.9%

of people live below the poverty line

77

years is the average life expectancy

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.

In March 2019, the country's first election in five years resulted in no party winning a clear majority. Prime Minister Prayut remained in power despite the opposition winning the most seats in the lower house of Parliament, after the government-appointed upper house voted for him.

Despite deep political divisions, Thailand has experienced rapid social and economic development over the past four decades, 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 and COVID-19. 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 range of issues: poor healthcare and education, unemployment and economic poverty, even trafficking and threats of displacement. Yet, sans citizenship, they lack representation and face a long road to economic and social equality.

The local church continues to be critically important in caring for the people of these forgotten communities, especially the children.

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