Thai Health Promotion, MSDHS, UNFPA Thailand and Chulalongkorn University host the ‘Small Voices from Forsaken Children’ forum as there is 3.17 million children invulnerability (extremely poor children, stateless children, street children, children of migrant workers, children of teen mothers, child offenders, children with the learning disability). There are five recommendations on how to take children out of vulnerable states. Database and social protection platforms are to be updated.
On September 18, 2017 at Prince Palace Hotel, Thai Health Promotion Foundation (ThaiHealth) in association with Ministry of Social Development and Human Security (MSDSH), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Thailand and Research Center for Children and Youth Development (CYD), Faculty of Education, Chulalongkorn University conducted the ‘Small Voices from Forsaken Children’ forum in an attempt to take youth and children out of vulnerable states. Presided over by Pol. Gen. Adul Saengsingkaew, Minister of Social Development and Human Security, the event was seen by more than 150 representatives from vulnerable youth and child networks.
Dr. Supreda Adulyanon, CEO of ThaiHealth, said there are more than 3.17 millions of vulnerable youth and children currently consisting of youth and children with learning disabilities which total around 10% of Thai youth who are lack of learning and occupation supports , 476,000 extremely poor children, 250,000 children of migrant workers ( educational welfare is needed for them once the registration and migrant working system were rightfully re-organized), around 200,000 stateless children facing educational transition problems, 104,289 teen mothers and their offspring are equal to 15% of entire newborn babies in the country with a question about how to raise them effectively, and 33,121 child offenders (68% come from broken families and most of them fail to further their studies).
Dr. Supreda reiterated that ThaiHealthPromotion has focused on academic activities for vulnerable youth and children to catalyze policies and management programs for living in wellness. Lessons learned have been exchanged and supports have been sought for a better future, promoting collaboration of policy sector, public sector, civil society and local staff at all-side supports have been required for solving socially vulnerable youth, child and family issues.
Prof. Dr. Sompong Chitradap, Director of the form the vulnerable youth and child forum from 35 networks in 4 regions as Sompong Chitradap, Director of the form the vulnerable youth and child forum from 35 networks in 4 regions as
- Local vulnerable youth and child database are required for directing the solutions. It is very vital to work with the Ministry of Interior in collaboration with Local Administration Organizations which work closers for the locals.
- Social protection system for vulnerable youth and children shall be developed to support ‘public sector’. With cooperation from the civil society and fund from the private sector, information and staff will be shared to help local juvenile protection centers and empower people working for vulnerable youth and child potential development.
- The eradication and lessening certain legal conditions and restrictions e.g.
- Existing funds have to shift their focus from mere aid to development emphasizing on a higher level and realistic occupation training with real market demands and shifting away from unrealistic professions.
- Opening a space or dialogue for vulnerable youth and children with recreational areas, so they can create value and acceptance. Encourage vulnerable youth and children to participate more in the sub-district-level Children and Youth Council.
This is a part of reflections from a vulnerable youth: 24-year-old Mr. Pong (pseudonym) who took a wrong turn that led him down the path of drug convictions. When studying in Grade 8, he himself preferred loitering to study so he was expelled from school. He was asked to talk about what motive was behind such deed. To avoid possible slandering, let’s talk this way. Mr. Pong had been under great pressure when studying in Grade 8 so he often skipped the class and was finally expelled from school. His school application was rejected time and again so he decided not to continue his study. He, as a school dropout, roamed places, drinking, fighting, racing motorcycles and trying drugs (amphetamine). He tried it, thinking he would not be addicted. He was wrong. He kept plunging into its whirlpool, trying harder drugs like heroin. Finally, he couldn’t live without them. Just a 15-year-old and addicted, he was looking for money to get the fix. He started as a drug carrier in his neighborhood before becoming a small paddler and a big pusher respectively. One day, he was hired to traffic 50,000 tablets of amphetamine for 200,000 Baht. He took the job, feeling so happy because it was easy money. Luck was no longer on his side when he was arrested and charged for having 50,000 tablets of amphetamines in possession. He then was sentenced to the Training Center, according to the Juvenile Court.
“I have left my drug days far behind after my release. I was given an opportunity to find my dream job through occupational training –vintage motorcycle business and sustainable diversified farming system. I dream about having a small farmhouse with a motorcycle garage. I also dream of helping errant youth to start new lives. Like me, children and youth taking wrong routes should be forgiven so they can start a new” said a youth whose life was formerly impacted by drugs.
Miss Khamlaeng (pseudonym) is a 20-year-old stateless student in Grade 12 with major subjects in Sciences – Mathematics in Mae Hong Song province. Despite her statelessness, she has kept in mind that she is Thai and has potential like other Thai youth. She has been ridiculed by those seeing her ID card number that begins with 0 (zero representing a stateless person). She cannot continue her study in higher education in either medical or health fields because stateless students are not qualified in these fields and cannot apply for Thai Student Loan. She has been seriously impacted by her statelessness and poverty.
Mr. Thawatchai Paipakka, 17 years old, is studying at Burirum Technical College. Born to the poor family, his parent separated when he was so young that he had to live with a younger brother and his maternal grandfather. He would like to continue studying in electronics technology after graduating from Grade 9 but his needy family did not want him to. Despite offensive sayings, he decided to continue and be attentive to his study for a brighter future.