In Thailand's Central Region
Geography & Climate
- Thailand is the geographical heart of southeastern Asia, occupying the western half of the Indochinese Peninsula and the northern two-thirds of the Malay Peninsula.
- Its neighbors are Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia.
- At 198,120 square miles, Thailand is roughly the size of France and slightly more than twice the size of Wyoming.
- Thailand contains six geographical regions, based on natural features, basic resources, as well as human cultural patterns.
- Thailand can be extremely hot and soggy, with high temperatures, high humidity and substantial rainfall.
- Its tropical climate is divided into three seasons: cool in November to February, hot in March to May, and rainy in June to October.
- Nationwide, temperatures normally range from an average annual high of 100.4 degrees to a low of 66 degrees.
Thailand is the second-largest economy in southeastern Asia, after Indonesia.
Primary industries include automobile manufacturing, financial services, electronic appliances and tourism.
The country’s unemployment rate is very low (0.7 percent) due to a large proportion of population working in subsistence agriculture or in other vulnerable jobs.
The population living below poverty is 13.2 percent.
The child labor (ages 5-14) rate is 8 percent.
The primary economic activity of central Thailand is rice farming.
Children at Home
Homes in Bangkok’s slums are crude constructions of wood or cement, with corrugated iron roofs.
These dwellings are usually no larger than 9 feet by 16 feet, sometimes accommodating 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.
Issues and Concerns
- The few jobs available for adults in the city slums are primarily factory work, taxi driving, construction and other day-labor positions.
- Since wages fall short of meeting basic needs, about 80 percent of families are in debt.
- People in the slums often become involved in violent crime, drug trafficking and substance abuse. 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 associated with the lack of safe water and an extremely polluted environment.
- Parents cannot afford to take their children to see a doctor.
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 is hardly enough for a family’s survival.
In addition to not having needs for nutrition, medical care and education met, many children must fend for themselves while their parents work.
Children are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, a common problem in Bangkok’s slums.
Schools and 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, parents struggle to pay the additional costs of uniforms, textbooks and transportation.
- With 40-plus students per class, the quality of public education is low.
At the Compassion Child Development Center
Combating the obstacles children face in central Thailand are Compassion church partners, strategically positioned within the communities they serve.
At their church-based Compassion centers, children learn how to protect themselves from abuse. When abuse occurs, child workers provide legal aid as well as personal counseling and emotional aid.
Compassion centers in this region also work closely with parents, teaching financial management so they can provide for their children’s education and nourishment.
Staff ensure that children know they are welcome to spend time at the center, where they can escape their cramped quarters in the slums and find a caring environment ready to protect them and guide them out of poverty.
What Compassion Sponsorship Provides
In partnership with local churches, Compassion is bringing help and hope to children in need in central Thailand, providing them with:
- regular nutritious meals and snacks
- health checkups and medical care as needed
- the support needed to attend school
- health and hygiene training
- access to special services like surgeries and disaster relief
- mentoring to help children discover their incredible value as God’s children