After decades of armed conflict, repression and economic hardship in Burma, many Karen and Mon families have fled across the border to areas such as Sangkhlaburi in Thailand. However, stateless migrant families in Thailand frequently still live in conditions of poverty and are subject to exploitative work practices, leaving children at most risk. Some children are orphaned, abandoned, abused or neglected, while others are exploited for cheap labour or become victims of child trafficking.
Although most of the children that come to us for help and support today are born in Thailand, they remain stateless without Thai national identification because their parents are undocumented migrants. As a result, they do not qualify for free or state-subsidised healthcare and face significant challenges accessing the Thai education system.
By providing a residential home, school and healthcare for stateless children, we strive to break the cycle of disadvantage and poverty and provide a pathway to a safe, stable and more fulfilling future.
Our approach involves mitigating risks, and promoting empowerment, development and positive opportunities for migrant children. For the last 16 years, we have evolved from a small school project to one of the leading NGOs supporting migrant families and children in the Sangkhlaburi area.
To empower vulnerable migrant children to build a safe, self-sufficient and fulfilling future.
To provide protection, education, healthcare and opportunities to migrant Karen and Mon children living in the Thai–Burmese border region of Sangkhlaburi to help break the cycle of disadvantage and poverty.
Our Key Objectives
• To empower children to build a better future through education, youth development and vocational training opportunities.
• To equip migrant children with the necessary language, skills and knowledge to enable them to join the Thai education system and Thai way of life more easily and safely.
• To provide a pathway for stateless children to gain formal Thai identification by way of a national identity card that provides them with rights and access to local health and education services.
• To foster positive family relationships for children in our residential care, and ultimately reintegrate children with their families providing it is safe to do so.
“Thailand’s Invisible Children” A video documentary about Children of the Forest’s Education Program.
A video documentary made by Bangkok Post
“Children of The Forest” A video documentary about Children of the Forest’s Medical Program