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Farwell to our sponsorship programmes in Thailand

Education Girls' Rights

Good news! In Thailand, our sponsorship programmes have made such good progress that we will end our sponsorship work in the country this summer. As the overall situation in Thailand has improved so much over the past few decades we are winding down much of our work there.

Since 1981 we have worked hand in hand with children and young people in Thailand to strengthen their rights as part of our sponsorship model. When the overall situation in a programme country improves over time, that is a reason for everyone to celebrate.

Thailand has made enormous strides in development in recent decades. The Southeast Asian country has experienced stable economic growth. This helped, among other things, to reduce the proportion of people living in poverty. The poverty rate fell from over 65 percent in the 1980s to below 10 percent in 2018.

The development in other areas is also remarkable: 95 percent of school children in Thailand now complete primary school and over 98 percent of the population has access to safe drinking water. The health system has also developed positively and legal frameworks have been created for the protection of children and young people.

Partnerships along the Human Development Index

Plan International’s programme countries such as Thailand are not chosen at random, but according to certain criteria. Parameters such as the general economic situation, the rate of people living in poverty, health care or the level of education play a role. The situation of children and respect for their rights in a country are closely linked to these criteria, which are reflected in the so-called Human Development Index (HDI) published by the United Nations.

“The communities are now able to meet the challenges on their own,” explains Kamolnat Skultuan, head of the project office in Chiang Rai.

Children’s rights and inclusion in Chiang Rai

Initially, Plan International only worked in the north-east of Thailand and in the capital, Bangkok. Gradually, more and more partner communities were added, over the past few decades there have been more than 1,000 in total.

Central to our work has always been strengthening the rights of children and young people. It is only when children know their rights that they can they stand up for themselves and their convictions and make their voices heard.

With the support of our sponsors, we were able to promote equal rights for children in Chiang Rai in northern Thailand, among other places. For example, many sponsored children took part in local youth groups, where they were informed about their rights and gender equality.

We assisted in the establishment of community-level child protection committees, which now empower community members to better identify and prosecute child abuse. In this way, violence against children is prevented and reduced. The children in our sponsorship communities also now know where to find help in an emergency.

Steps for a better future

Plan International has been active in our project area in Chiang Rai for more than ten years. During this time, the support of our sponsors has helped improve the lives of more than 89,000 people, especially children. They benefited from the community projects, which gave them better access to education, for example.

An important step for the girls and boys on the way to a better future were birth registration measures, including the issuing of identity papers. Statelessness – especially among the remote ethnic groups – prevents professional and social development. Universities cannot be attended without identification papers, and loans, official marriages and better-paying jobs remain unattainable in adulthood.

Other basic measures have also been implemented by our teams, such as the provision of clean water, which help to contain life-threatening diseases have been implemented together with community members.

“Thanks to the sponsorship contributions, the children’s voices are now heard and they grow up in a safe environment,” says Kamolnat Skultuan, Head of Plan’s Project Office in Chiang Rai.

Better access to education

Education can be a powerful lever out of poverty, especially for girls. With the help of sponsorship contributions, Plan International provided children with learning packages and new school materials, which enabled them to improve their reading and writing skills. Now more children can learn and play in a safe and friendly environment while developing important skills and knowledge.

In addition, specialists in early childhood care and development were able to expand their knowledge as part of training courses. They are now able to apply new teaching methods and engage in educational play and leisure activities with the children. We also provided better access to learning materials through mobile libraries in the communities, which are used by more than 700 pre-school children.

Individual projects will continue in Thailand

Plan International will continue to be involved in Thailand after our sponsorship programmes are complete. With individual projects, we will secure project successes and/or expand them.

Our long-standing cooperation with communities and the local authorities supports the implementation of new projects, such as working with communities in the Mekong region in the north and east of the country and the support of migrants from Cambodia and Myanmar.

Learn more