Children of the Forest is located in Sangkhlaburi, 19km from the Thai-Burma border, an area where today, stateless children face a life entrenched in poverty and danger. Since the end of World War II, the Karen and Mon people of Burma have been engaged in a vicious guerilla war to gain freedom, land and dignity. Karen and Mon women, children and entire villages have become innocent victims of the Burmese military regime. Recently, attacks on the Karen and Mon people have intensified; whole villages have been forced to flee and there are now an estimated 2,000,000 displaced Karen and Mon living along the Thai/Burma border.
The dehumanizing and dire conditions of the factory and plantation settlements that have become home for displaced Karen and Mon have eroded traditional community strength and family unity. In these circumstances, a culture of alcohol, drug and gambling addiction and violence has taken root in the transient settlements formed. The Karen and Mon children pay the highest price, becoming extremely vulnerable as instances of abandonment, abuse, broken homes, neglect and child trafficking continue to rise.
The more than 1,000 stateless children assisted by Children of the Forest everyday, come to our programmes for a variety of reasons. Some are orphaned, others abandoned, abused or neglected and many are the victims of an environment that traffiicks children and young women as cheap labour or much worse. By focusing on the critical issues of education, health care, and child protection we strive to provide hope and opportunity to those most in need, and create paths to stability and happiness.