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Ministry Highlight: Thailand
Posted By Web Team On August 19, 2011 @ 1:54 am In Country Staff | 5 Comments
We began our ministry in Thailand in 1970, when the Child Sponsorship Program was started. In 2002 the Leadership Development Program began, and the Child Survival Program followed in 2007.
After 40 years of ministry in Thailand, our ministry is now well known by the majority of evangelical churches in the country.
Country Director of Thailand
Sanya Ladaphongpattana joined our ministry in Thailand as a Program Coordinator and was later appointed Country Director.
Prior to coming to our ministy, he was a lecturer at Bangkok Institute of Theology and taught Sociology of Religion; he also served at many local churches and ministries.
Sanya holds a Masters of Comparative Religion from Mahidol University.
He also studied church management, missions and social studies at Selly Oak in the United Kingdom, and community development at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Canada.
Implementing Church Partners
Implementing Church Partners are local churches in Thailand with whom we work to deliver child development and ministry in the field.
Many parents forbid their children to go to church and sometimes ask the staff to remove their children from the child development center.
A recent study found that there are more than 4,000 Protestant churches and more than 300,000 Christians in Thailand. The number of evangelical Christians is growing, specifically among tribal people. However, church attendance is declining among young people. Also, many church leaders are not strongly committed to the church.
The government provides free education, access to health services, and early childhood intervention services. As a result, we are sometimes faced with a limited number of children available, because families are already taking advantage of government services and do not have as much of a need for our program.
Many homeless, abused and trafficked children in Thailand need to be reached. We want to start initiatives for these children, but it is difficult.
Buddhist culture and practices are deeply rooted in Thai society. This can be challenging for implementing a program that teaches Christian values. Some parents even prohibit their children from enrolling in the program.
After their visit, they supported a Complementary Interventions project to obtain a water tank filter, and they sponsor over 30 children from that church partner.
Child Survival Program
Child Survival Program staff members try to mitigate this by encouraging these young mothers to seek prenatal care and by training them on safe labor techniques and safe baby care.
Children who are below average physically receive additional food such as eggs, powdered milk and meat. If a doctor suggests special food for a child, the Child Survival Program will provide the food.
To transition the mothers into the Child Sponsorship Program, we provide literacy classes and income-generating activities.
Our goal is that every mother has at least one income-generating skill. We also involve the mothers in activities such as Bible study, Christian fellowship, and the practice of spiritual disciplines. We ensure that every mother has heard the gospel.
Most of these mothers are not Thai citizens, so they cannot receive services at the public health centers. As a result, these mothers are at a high risk for fatal diseases and many children do not reach the age of five.
Child Development Through Sponsorship
Your sponsorship of a child in Thailand provides a variety of benefits.
Children go to school from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. weekdays, so we conduct project activities on weekends.
We feed the children every week, because many parents are working on the weekends and not available to prepare meals for their children.
Also, some families cannot afford to buy meat; the typical meal for the children at home consists of rice, vegetables and chili paste. We like to ensure that the children receive a nutritious meal every week.
There are alternative vaccines for diseases that are preventable, but these vaccines are not high priority. They are expensive and not paid for by the Thai government.
Our ministry will cover the cost of these alternative vaccines for children who have not already received them.
We make an effort to provide multiple activities for adolescents so they might discover their own gifts and skills as well as earn an income. Also, we hope that offering activities at the Implementing Church Partner will prevent them from becoming involved in drug addiction, gangs or sexual problems.
Some Child Sponsorship Program graduates will work at the child development center when they graduate. The development center staff also provides graduates with information on job opportunities.
In addition, child development center staff members visit the children’s homes every three months where they meet the parents and make an effort to build a relationship with them.
There are 40 indicators on the report that cover areas such as health, education, employment, income and living environment among others.
Leadership Development Program
The primary reason students work is to help support their families. It also helps them gain valuable experience and develop financial stewardship skills.
The students also develop a greater appreciation for their sponsors, because they know they would not be able to work hard enough and earn enough to pay their own tuition.
Some Leadership Development Program students work at camps during school breaks, and others serve at the child development centers.
These students do various activities such as building latrines, painting classrooms, making repairs, tutoring children, and teaching parents about financial stewardship.
At the beginning of May, there is an annual training camp for all the students. They cover Leadership Development Program curriculum topics, take part in worship, and hear pastors share their experiences.
After training, students spend time together getting to know one another and building relationships. Lastly, all students are invited to attend the Leadership Development Program graduation ceremony. Many of the students help our staff prepare for the ceremony.
The second course we offer is “Christian Inner Healing,” because most of these students come from families that are verbally or physically abusive.
Also, some families are Buddhist and reject their children when they become believers. As a result, many students carry bitterness and hurt which are obstacles to becoming leaders in their communities. The objective of this course is to enable students to understand their hurts and allow God to heal them.
Our core child sponsorship program, while comprehensive, does not address all obstacles to a child’s healthy development. The Complementary Interventions program was created to work with our holistic child development model to provide additional services, such as our AIDS Initiative, Bibles for all children, disaster relief and water projects.
Some of the Complementary Interventions we offer in Thailand are:
Many children and people in the communities have high rates of waterborne diseases such as diarrhea.
Highly Vulnerable Children
Most of our Highly Vulnerable Children needs in Thailand fall into the category of “care reinforcement.” We plan to provide activities such as micro-enterprise and income-generating projects for children and their caregivers.
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