Blog Post #2 | Kia Lee

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.

2 thoughts on “Blog Post #2 | Kia Lee”

  1. I completely agree about how you can be smart and careful on being a responsible traveler. It seems to me that a lot of people aren’t educated on this topic and would be very beneficial that more people could learn about it. I was even thinking that UMN abroad could make each student at least visit the website before traveling and studying abroad just to get immersed in the information.

  2. Kia, I agree with your comment that even if we think we have the best intentions in mind, sometimes we may do more harm than good. The ChildSafe workshop definitely made me commit to being more mindful in situations such as an encounter with a begging child. Despite how much money I may have or the emotions stirred within me, I should remember that the best intention would be to not perpetuate the cycle. I would also agree that the visit to the school made me proud of the students and their families to have the opportunity of education and a better, successful future.

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