HELP VIETNAMESE REFUGEE CHILDREN IN BANGKOK
In recent years, the Vietnamese refugee population in Bangkok has grown to become the 2nd largest in Bangkok, with around 1,000 Vietnamese refugees scattered across the outskirts of the city. The families we meet have come from all across Vietnam seeking safety from persecution. Most of the people we serve come from a farming background with limited access to education and skills necessary to navigate a big city like Bangkok.
Still, they must find ways to manage and survive in a foreign and hostile environment where it is illegal for them to work and where they risk arrest any time they go outside. Many families have trouble finding enough money for rent, food, and other basic needs. As the refugee crisis grows globally, this has resulted in serious funding cuts for support programs in Thailand and unprecedented wait-times for those with refugee claims. Families are stuck in limbo for years at a time.
Among this refugee population are hundreds of children. Far too often, refugee children’s lives are put on hold. They lose access to education and fall years behind in school. Their childhood is lost and their normal development is stifled. Refugee children are also among the most vulnerable and at-risk populations when it comes to health. All children are also at risk of arrest and being placed in detention by the Thai authorities.
WHAT BOAT PEOPLE SOS IS DOING TO HELP
Boat People SOS (BPSOS) is working with local partners to ensure that refugee children are protected and have proper access to the health and education. So far, BPSOS has been able to help hundreds of children by providing volunteer tutors, fundraising and delivering funds to families to help with education costs (uniforms, books, etc), food, basis need expenses, and in response to serious medical issues and emergencies faced by children, and natural disasters (the Bangkok floods in 2011). We work closely with service providers, faith-based organizations, and community leaders to ensure that families have access to support services available and to fill the gaps when these services fall short.
We also work with local and international NGOs in Bangkok and across the region to advocate for refugee child rights to health and education and to end the detention of refugee children.
However, limited resources mean that BPSOS is currently not able to help as many children and families as we would like. Nor are we able to reach all of those that need our help. BPSOS hopes to expand our children-focused projects and lead a coordinated effort to reach virtually all the Vietnamese refugee children in Bangkok.
HELP US DOUBLE OUR GRANT!
We have big plans for 2016, but we need your help! People Serving People Foundation (PSPF), BPSOS’s chief implementing partner on the ground in Bangkok, has already been awarded a $5,000 grant to help refugee children and provide legal-aid to their parents. However, this grant is conditional and requires that it is matched with double that amount raised elsewhere. That means that in order to access this $5,000, BPSOS is helping PSPF to raise an additional $10,000. In other words, if we raise $10,000, we have really raised $15,000.