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Thailand has had relatively few cases of COVID-19, although the number of new infections spiked to 250 on 6th April, largely due to clusters in a jail and in Bangkok entertainment venues. Since the pandemic began, the country has reported just under 30,000 infections and 95 COVID-19-related deaths. As of 6th April, Thailand had administered enough doses to fully vaccinate about 0.2% of its 68.6 million people, starting with medical workers, government leaders and the elderly. The national economy is faltering due to decreased tourism, and half of the hotels in Thailand are closed indefinitely, leaving many people without income. To help promote tourism, the government has set a priority to vaccinate residents of its most popular resort island ahead of the rest of the country.

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COVID-19 in Thailand

How is Compassion currently operating in Thailand?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    About three quarters of the Compassion centres have reopened and are conducting normal program activities while maintaining safety measures.

    The remainder meet in small groups, and several centres conduct home visits where children and their families are visited by staff and tutors at their homes. Staff members have been able to distribute over 145,000 food packs and nearly 79,000 hygiene kits to registered children and their families. Additionally, almost 4800 people have been provided with medical support during this season.

  • 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 for the emotional, mental and physical healing of two children who have experienced physical and verbal abuse.
  • Pray that God would give Jinda the strength, energy and peace she needs as she works to balance youth group, school and chores.
  • Pray that God would continue to protect and provide for the children, families and staff.
  • Pray for the financial support and supplies needed for the community connected with TH0376, as staff work to prepare a space for the children’s project activities.
  • Pray that God would continue to heal and allow Annie, Piyamary and Ying to make a full recovery.
  • Pray that God would give the Thailand leadership wisdom and guidance.
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. 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

11%

of children experience growth stunting as a result of malnutrition

7%

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 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 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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