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Homelessness. Medical emergencies. Natural disaster. Your donation helps children when they need it most..
Visitors to Thailand experience beautiful beaches, resorts and ancient ruins. Although visitors may not see homelessness, injustice or abuse, Compassion-assisted children witness these realities daily. But at the Compassion center, there is hope.
53YEARS SERVING THAILAND
A boy sits on playground equipment.
A group of teenagers learn how to play guitar.
Children laugh and play together.
A boy climbs a tree in his village in Thailand.
A group of children cross the river on their way home.
A mother holds her smiling baby.
A group of children eat a meal at their child development center.
Four girls ride their bikes on the way to church.
A girl smiles and holds a mosquito net.
A proud father stands next to his son in a green field.
Issue: Poverty in Thailand is decreasing, and unemployment is less than 1%. But pockets of poverty still exist, particularly along the borders, where many children lack citizenship and have limited access to education and health care.
Response: Compassion recognizes children’s unique needs and works to meet them. For those without Thai citizenship, our holistic approach provides not only financial, material, medical and educational support but also legal support through our partnership with International Justice Mission.
Prayer Point: Pray that ALL children in Thailand would receive the financial, material, medical, educational and legal support they need to escape the cycle of poverty.
Compassion works to provide financial, medical and educational support to those in need through the child development centers.
Visit the Compassion blog to learn more about our work in Thailand.
Siamese cats, with their blue eyes and distinctive markings, are native to Thailand and were once treasured by royal families there.
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Official Name: Kingdom of Thailand
Form of Government: Constitutional monarchy
Official Languages: Thai
Area: 198,115 square miles (513,115 square kilometers)
Recent archaeological studies suggest that by 4000 B.C., communities in what is now Thailand had emerged as centers of early bronze metallurgy. This development, along with the cultivation of wet rice, provided the impetus for social and political organization. Research suggests that these innovations may actually have been transmitted from there to the rest of Asia, including to China.
The Thai are related linguistically to Tai groups originating in southern China. Migrations from southern China to southeast Asia may have occurred in the sixth and seventh centuries. Malay, Mon and Khmer civilizations flourished in the region prior to the arrival of the ethnic Tai.
Thais date the founding of their nation to the 13th century. According to tradition, in 1238, Thai chieftains overthrew their Khmer overlords at Sukhothai and established a Thai kingdom. After its decline, a new Thai kingdom emerged in 1350 on the Chao Praya river. At the same time, there was an equally important Tai kingdom of Lanna, centered in Chiang Mai, which rivaled Sukothai and Ayutthaya for centuries, and which defines northern Thai identity to this day. Theravada Buddhism took hold in the country in the Sukothai period.
The first Thai recognition of Western power in the region was the Treaty of Amity and Commerce with the United Kingdom in 1826. In 1833, the United States began diplomatic exchanges with Siam, as Thailand was called until 1938. However, it was during the later reigns of Rama IV (or King Mongkut, 1851-68), and his son Rama V (King Chulalongkorn (1868-1910), that Thailand reestablished firm ties with Western powers. The Thais believe that the diplomatic skills of these monarchs, combined with the modernizing reforms of the Thai government, made Siam the only country in South and Southeast Asia to avoid European colonization.
Although nominally a constitutional monarchy, Thailand was ruled by a series of military governments interspersed with brief periods of democracy until the 1992 elections. Since then, Thailand has been a functioning democracy with constitutional changes of government but has experienced several rounds of political turmoil, including a military coup in 2006, followed by large-scale street protests by competing political factions in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Source: The World Factbook, 2014.
Thai art includes temple decoration, woodcarving and religious sculpture.
Thailand retains cultural connections with India and China. Pop music and other forms of European and American music are extremely influential. The two most popular styles of traditional Thai music are luk thung and mor lam.
Luk thung, or Thai country music, developed in the mid-20th century to reflect daily trials and tribulations of rural Thais. Some of the biggest stars incorporate influences from Latin America, Asia and, especially, American film soundtracks and country music. The first all-luk thung radio station was launched in 1997.
Mor lam is the dominant folk music of Thailand's northeastern Isan region, which has a mainly Lao population. It has much in common with luk thung, such as its focus on the life of the rural poor. It is characterized by rapid-fire, rhythmic vocals and a funk feel to the percussion. There are about 15 regional variations of mor lam, plus modern versions. Some conservatives have criticized these as the commercialization of traditional cultures.
Thai: Sabai dee mai krap/kaa? (How are you? male/female), Sabai dee krap/kaa (I'm fine male/female), Sawat-dee krap/kaa (Hello, goodbye male/female)
Greetings in other dialects are slightly different. The differences are mostly in their tones and ending words. For example:
Northeastern Dialect: Sumbai dee bor? (How are you?), Sumbai dee krap/kaa? (I'm fine male/female)
Northern Dialect: Sabai dee kor krap/jao? (How are you? male/female), Sabai dee krap/jao (I'm fine male/female)
Northern women normally use the word jao as an ending word, instead of kaa. These ending words are used in polite conversation or with those who are older.
The greetings Sabai dee reu?/Sabai dee krap/kaa/Sawat-dee krap/kaa are understood by every Thai speaker.
Sports & Games
Thais enjoy soccer, table tennis, badminton, volleyball, kite flying and takro (a sport in which the player tries to keep a wicker ball in the air without using his or her hands). Tire racing, or tee-wong-law, is a favorite children's game played in the rural areas of Thailand.
Thai food includes rice, beef, chicken, eggs, vegetables, fruit and fish.
The typical school year runs from May through March. Six years of free education is provided. Secondary education lasts six years. Only a minority continue with secondary school.
The Thai education system comprises four levels: preschool, primary, secondary and higher education. Details of these levels can be summarized as follows:
Preschool education is provided for children ages 3 through 5. Every provincial capital has a kindergarten to serve as a model for the private ones. Since this level of education is optional, the private sector has played an active role. Most preschools are private and located in Bangkok.
Primary education is compulsory and free for all children ages 6 through 11. Primary school curriculum comprises basic skills development, life experience, character development, work-oriented education and special experiences.
Secondary education is divided into two levels, each covering a period of three years. The lower level emphasizes morality and basic skills. It allows the learner to explore his or her individual interests and aptitudes through a wide choice of both academic and vocational subjects. The upper level aims to provide appropriate academic and vocational knowledge and skills corresponding to the learner's interests and aptitudes. This knowledge and these skills will be beneficial for learners to continue study at a higher level or to enter the workforce. Secondary curriculum covers five broad fields: language, science and mathematics, social studies, character development and work education. There is also a wide range of exploratory pre-vocational subjects available.
Higher Education focuses on fully developing intellect and the advancement of knowledge and technology. This level may be organized in the forms of colleges, universities or institutions for specialized studies.
Attitude Toward Education
Education in Thailand has improved remarkably after the current government issued and amended several laws, rules and regulations to push forward educational reform.
The state religion in Thailand is Theravada Buddhism; however, it is not designated as such. Thailand's monarch must be a Buddhist. The law provides for freedom of religion and the government generally respects this right in practice. The constitution states that discrimination against a person on the grounds of “a difference in religious belief” will not be permitted. The government does, however, restrict the activities of some groups.
The government plays an active role in religious affairs. The state subsidizes the activities of the three largest religious communities (Buddhist, Islamic and Christian). The government allocated approximately $45.8 million (1.83 billion baht) during the fiscal year of 2004 to support religious groups. Included in this amount were funds to support Buddhist and Muslim institutes of higher education, fund religious education programs in public and private schools, provide daily allowances for monks and Muslim clerics who hold administrative and senior ecclesiastical posts and subsidize travel and health care for monks and Muslim clerics. This figure also included an annual budget for the renovation and repair of Buddhist temples and Muslim mosques, the maintenance of historic Buddhist sites, and the daily upkeep of the Central Mosque in Pattani. Christians also receive some funding from the government.
Religious instruction is required in public schools at both the primary (grades one through six) and secondary (grades seven through 12) education levels. The Ministry of Education has formulated a new course called “Social, Religion and Culture Studies,” which students in each grade study for one to two hours each week. The course covers all the recognized religions in the country: Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Brahmin/Hinduism and Sikh. Students who wish to pursue in-depth studies of other religions or of their belief may study at the religious schools and can transfer credits to the public school. Schools, working in conjunction with their local school administrative board, are authorized to arrange additional religious studies courses.
Source: International Religious Freedom Report, released in 2012 by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
New Year’s Day: Jan. 1 — schools are closed
Lunar New Year: dates vary from the end of January to the beginning of February; widely celebrated, especially by people of Chinese descent.
Chinese New Year: Jan. 27-28 — Celebrated by the Chinese
Songkran Festival: April 12-14 — A large Buddhist holiday where special foods are prepared and people visit elders and ask for their blessing.
Loy Krathong Festival: A large Buddhist holiday that typically falls in November.
Christmas: Dec. 25 — Christmas is not celebrated by the general population of Thailand. Small churches in some larger cities observe Christmas services but Thais do not decorate or exchange gifts.
Compassion has been working in Thailand since 1970. These Thailand facts and statistics provide a good picture of the reality of poverty and how child sponsorship through Compassion is making a difference.
Poverty is a problem in the country of Thailand but with your support, Compassion is working to change this. The Thailand facts tell a difficult story, but Compassion is bringing hope in the midst of the difficulties. Our programs are changing the statistics one child at a time.
Don't let the hopelessness of poverty overwhelm you. Donate to children in Thailand!