Where We Work

Snapshot of Thailand

16%

of children experience moderate or severe growth stunting

13%

of people live below the poverty line

22%

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.

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

Sanya Ladaphongpattana

Letter from Compassion Thailand Director, Sanya Ladaphongpattana

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.

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The Bravest Chicken

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?

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Prayer requests for Thailand

  • Please pray for the national election in March 2019. Pray that it happens on time and that God provides honest candidates who will lead the country well; pray for a peaceful, transparent and fair process.
  • Pray for Pennapha Thanadjeraja, a Compassion assisted girl, as she hopes to continue her education beyond secondary school by studying medicine/nursing at the local college. Pray for her test and interview. Pray for Pennapha as she prepares for her high school final exam.
  • Please pray for PayaPrai Church (TH0367) near the Myanmar border, as they plan to expand their ministry into nearby communities that are saturated with poverty. These communities desperately need more opportunity for their children; pray that God will lead the church as they seek His guidance on how best to help the children around them.
  • Please pray for the Compassion Thailand staff who are struggling with illness at the moment. The pollution in the cities has been particularly bad and has caused respiratory problems and other illnesses. Please pray for good health and protection as they continue their work with the children.
  • Pray for one registered boy who was involved in an accident in January and suffered burns to 80 per cent of his body. He is receiving medical treatment; please lift him up in prayer and pray for continued healing. Pray for peace and strength for his family and friends as well.
  • Please pray for the Centre Director of Tha Ta Fang Child Development Centre (TH0998). In December, his entire house and property burnt down. Now, the family is living in a shelter and trying to raise funds to build a new home.