Bangkok

Bangkok

Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand. According to the 2010 census, Bangkok has almost 8.3 million residents. Many multinational corporations have located their regional headquarters in Bangkok.

Thailand Central Region

The Location

 

The Population

67,091,089

The Religion

Buddhism

The Weather

 
 
  • Impoverished residents in central Thailand typically live in houses made of scrap materials. Many are in undesirable locations, such as banks of rivers, which flood in the rainy season. Thailand home over water
  • A team of Compassion-assisted children lead worship in a service at their church-based child development center. Thailand children raising hands
  • Many children are left on their own while their parents work. Often, older siblings care for the younger ones. Here a young child helps at home by washing dishes. Thailand children sitting
  • Ram Thai is a traditional dance that beautifully expresses the Thai people’s gentleness and elegance. Thailand girl in traditional dress
  • At their Compassion center, children have opportunities to develop their abilities. The center is also a safe place for them to learn and grow under the supervision of caring adults. Thailand smiling boy with large card
  • Children often work to help their families’ economic situation. This girl plays the Thai flute for tips from passersby. Thailand girl playing recorder
 

Overview: Central Thailand

In total area, Thailand is slightly more than twice the size of Wyoming. The climate in the country’s central region is tropical, and the hottest month is April, when temperatures reach 106 degrees.

For people living in central Thailand, flooding is a constant concern during the rainy season — mid-May through September. Bangkok’s slums, located near dumpsites and crowded along riverbanks, are often flooded during this time of year. Especially concerning for the health of children is the garbage that flows from the dumpsites into the slums.

Blessed with abundant fertile land, central Thailand is known as the “Rice Bowl of Asia.” The 25 provinces comprising this region include the capital city of Bangkok. The ethnicity of the people in this region is primarily Thai, and Thai is the dominant language.

Buddhism is practiced by more than 95 percent of the people in central Thailand, and elaborate Buddhist temples and brightly robed monks are common sights.

The children whom Compassion serves in the central region live mostly in the congested slums of Bangkok. Here, most of the residents have moved from the countryside in search of employment and a better life for their families. What they have typically found, however, is crushing poverty and the inability to provide for even the most basic needs of their children.

 

Culture Corner

PAD THAI GOONG

This spicy meal of fried rice noodles with shrimp is one of the national dishes of Thailand.

INGREDIENTS

3 oz. dry rice noodles (the width of linguini)
2 tbsp. oil for frying
12 fresh shrimp, shells removed and deveined
2 eggs
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. crushed peanuts
2 tbsp. preserved turnips*
1 tbsp. paprika
6 tbsp. fish sauce*
6 tbsp. oyster sauce*
3 tsp. vinegar
1½ oz. bean sprouts
2 tbsp. chopped green onion
1-2 tsp. dried red chili flakes

* Available at Asian markets.

PROCEDURE

Soak noodles for 30 minutes in room-temperature water.

Heat oil in a wok or frying pan over medium heat. Add shrimp and cook for 90 seconds. Crack the eggs into the pan and stir to scramble.

When eggs are not quite cooked, add drained noodles, sugar, peanuts, turnips and paprika. Stir-fry until all ingredients are mixed well and noodles are soft. Add fish sauce, oyster sauce and vinegar.

Add bean sprouts, green onions and red chili flakes. Stir-fry quickly, ensuring everything is well combined. Serve with lemon wedge garnish.

 

Life in Central Thailand

The primary economic activity of central Thailand is rice farming. The Chao Phraya river runs through the central plains and is used to irrigate the vast rice fields. The sprawling capital city, Bangkok, is also located in this region, and Compassion’s ministry focuses on children living in the city’s slums.

The central region is rich in history and culture. Many historical ruins and sites are reminders of Thailand’s past golden age. Daily customs are closely tied to Buddhism, the official state religion. For example, children of Buddhist homes are taught that wasting rice will enrage the goddess of rice, Pho Sop.

Located near the equator, Thailand’s climate is tropical. During the rainy season, from June through October, rain falls nearly every day, and flooding is an annual problem.

Children at Home

Homes in the city’s slums are crude constructions of wood or cement, with corrugated iron roofs. They are usually no larger than 9 feet by 16 feet, and they can house up to 15 family members. Typically, several houses share a community latrine.

Home life in the slums is difficult for many children, since child abuse is common. At the Compassion centers, children are taught how to protect themselves from abuse.

 

Community Issues and Concerns thailand central community

The few jobs available for adults in the city slums are primarily factory work, taxi driving, construction and other daily labor positions. Since these jobs don’t even come close to meeting their needs, about 80 percent of families are in debt.

It is common for people in the slums to become involved in violent crime, drug trafficking and substance abuse. Tragically, child abuse is also an issue in these desperate settings.

Children’s health in the crowded slums is always at risk. Mosquito-borne dengue fever is a problem, as are illnesses that result from the lack of access to clean water and an extremely polluted environment. However, poor parents cannot afford to take their children to see a doctor. Instead, they spend what they can on medicines from the local pharmacies.

Local Needs and Challenges

Working primarily in factories or as day laborers. People in Bangkok earn more money than those in Thailand’s rural areas – about U.S.$6 to $11 per day. Still, this meager amount is hardly enough for a family’s survival. In addition to not having their basic needs for nutrition, medical care and education met, many children must fend for themselves while their parents work. As a result, they are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, a common problem in Bangkok’s slums.

 

Schools and Education thailand central education

The school year in central Thailand runs from May to March and is divided into two semesters: May to October and November to March. Elementary school and secondary school last six years each.

Although the government provides free education, children’s parents struggle to pay the additional costs of uniforms, textbooks and transportation. Also, with 40-plus students per class, the quality of public education is low.

At the Compassion Child Development Center

At Compassion-assisted child development centers in central Thailand, children receive the one-on-one attention from the staff that they often lack in their homes and schools. Tutoring in Thai, English, math and other subjects helps them to excel academically. The centers also provide a nutritious lunch on Saturdays and vocational skills training. Most important, the children learn about the love of God and gift of salvation in Christ.

 

Working Through the Local Church

In Thailand, as in each country where Compassion ministers, our program of assisting children in need is carried out through local churches. That’s because local church staff know well their community and its needs, and they are dedicated to the church’s God-given role of bringing justice, hope and redemption to the poor.

One Compassion center director says, “Some parents may be skeptical about our program, but when we tell them about the benefits for their children – such as the health checkups, free meals, and educational activities – they don’t have any problems. They know we will be teaching their children about Christ, but they trust that we will not coerce them into conversion.”

How Compassion Works in Thailand thailand central compassion in thailand

Compassion's work in Thailand began in 1970. Currently, more than 36,700 children are registered in 228 church-based child development centers.

For more than 40 years, Compassion has been partnering with local churches, helping them provide Thai children with the material resources and learning opportunities they need to rise above their circumstances and become all that God has created them to be.

The Role of a Partnership Facilitator

As a Partnership Facilitator for Compassion Thailand, Kanokwan summarizes her role: “I guide churches in their partnership with Compassion and encourage them to fight for the children with the resources they have.”

Currently, Kanokwan oversees 13 church-based child development centers. Getting to these centers can be a challenge – nine hours on a bus, three hours on a van, and another hour of walking. But Kanokwan doesn’t complain. “My favorite part of the job is visiting children’s homes with center staff members,” she says. “It is encouraging to see staff interacting with children and parents with such love and care. It affirms why I serve at Compassion – to create choices and provide hope for the future to the children.”

 
 

Prayer Requests

  • Pray for the strength and wisdom of the Compassion center workers as they strive to protect children from violence, substance abuse, and the other negative influences in their slum communities.
  • Pray that parents will understand the importance of education and support their children’s academic endeavors.
  • Pray that parents will be good role models for their children to look up to.
  • Pray for the health of children living in the polluted city slum environment.
  • Pray for the parents and caregivers of Compassion-assisted children who face unemployment or underemployment.