Being in Thailand has been an amazing experience so far. I’ve learned so much about the Thai people and their culture. One of the important topics that I have been learning about since our arrival is the youth who are at risk.
At the Child Safe workshop, I learned about the problems that youth at risk face– trafficking, drug addiction, abusive homes, poverty– and the programs that the organization, Child Safe, implement to help the youth. Child Safe has programs that are sustainable and serve to better the future of the youth that they work with more than anything else, such as vocational training and training families to manage their own shop.
Although I as a tourist may not be able to directly help a child from being at risk, I can be careful and smart about what I do. I should be aware of how I use my privileges as a tourist and know that my actions, even with the best intentions, may do more harm than good.
When we visited the Suksasongkroh Chiang Dao School, a school for youth at risk for grades primary through high school, I learned about the students’ academic schedule. The school is free for the students’ and their families, the students sleep in dormitories, they get free meals, and they must follow strict rules. There is only a 5% graduate rate because many students may choose to drop out or pursue other obligations. Most of the students are minorities from other ethnic groups and many of their parents are farmers. It was a humbling opportunity to play with the students and learn about their studies.
Learning about the youth in Thailand emphasizes how important it is to work with youth and care for them. These young people have a bright future but not many opportunities are open for them to succeed.