COVID-19 and Compassion’s Work in Thailand

An in-depth look at the coronavirus pandemic in Thailand

Last Updated: 04/12/2021

Thailand has had relatively few cases of COVID-19, although the number of new infections spiked to 250 on April 6, largely due to clusters in a jail and in Bangkok entertainment venues. Since the pandemic began, the country has reported just under 30,000 infections and 95 coronavirus-related deaths. As of April 6, Thailand had administered enough doses to fully vaccinate about 0.2% of its 68.6 million people, starting with medical workers, government leaders and the elderly. The national economy is faltering due to decreased tourism, and half of the hotels in Thailand are closed indefinitely, leaving many people without income. To help promote tourism, the government has set a priority to vaccinate residents of its most popular resort island ahead of the rest of the country.

About three quarters of the Compassion centers have reopened and are conducting normal program activities while maintaining safety measures. The remainder meet in small groups, and a few conduct home visits where children and their families are visited by staff and tutors at their homes. Staff members have been able to distribute over 145,000 food packs and nearly 79,000 hygiene kits to registered children and their families. Additionally, almost 4,800 people have been provided with medical support during this season.

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A Message From National Staff

How Is Compassion Currently Operating in Thailand?

Below, you will find the latest information on how Compassion is currently operating in Thailand, including status updates on center openings, letter delivery and gift delivery. This is the most current information we have, though it can change quickly. Please know that all children and their families are being checked in on regularly by staff, either in person or by phone, even if the Compassion center is not open for programming.

Are Compassion Centers Open?

About 71% of Compassion centers in Thailand have been able to reopen while abiding by local guidelines for group sizes and social distancing. Staff members from all centers continue to check on families and ensure that their needs are being met. Because of the generous support of sponsors and donors, they have been able to distribute almost over 145,000 food packs and nearly 79,000 hygiene kits to children and their families!

A family sits together

child reading IconStory From the Field

While schools were closed in Thailand due to the second wave of COVID-19, Compassion center staff organized a creative activity for both adults and children in a mountain community: making traditional Karen crafts. The center asked adults skilled in basket or fabric weaving to teach children these culturally important skills.

“Our traditional crafts are fading away as the manufactured products such as plastic containers are easy to find,” says Somped, the center director. “Children in this generation don't get much opportunity to learn about their traditional crafts, as their families are busy with the workload on the field. We wanted to help our children to spend their time while school was closed effectively and use this time to learn about our traditional crafts.”

Bamboo baskets are still used by Karen people for storage or for collecting firewood or wild vegetables. “I have learned that it is important for me as a Karen boy to learn about our traditional crafts like how to weave a bamboo basket,” 12-year-old Chakrit says. “I spent the whole day weaving with one of the elders. I learned how to use my time effectively and have fun.”

Boys weren’t the only participants — girls like 12-year-old Nawarat learned a different type of weaving, as well as embroidery. “We (wove) fabric for bags and girl's and boy's tops. I learned at the center and when I (went) home, my mother also helped me to practice as well,” Nawarat says. “I enjoyed weaving the shirt in my free time.”

Although the school closure could have meant just lost learning time, these Compassion-assisted children learned skills that help preserve their culture, plus valuable life skills like patience, perseverance and time management.

How can I pray for Thailand?

Please pray for God’s protection over children, families and church partners near the border with Myanmar, as that country is undergoing political protests. For more prayer resources, visit Compassion’s COVID-19 prayer page for prayer guides and a virtual prayer wall.

How Can I Help?

Sponsor a Child in Thailand
Give to Compassion’s COVID-19 Relief Fund
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