Purpose of the Project
There are six major hill tribes within Thailand, they are – the Akha, Lahu, Karen, Hmong/Miao, Mien/Yao and Lisu.
Nearly a million hill tribe people and forest dwellers are still treated as outsiders – criminals even, since most live in protected forests. Hundreds of thousands of them are refused citizenship although many are natives to the land. Chiang Rai is the northernmost province of Thailand. It is mountainous and it shares the border with Myanmar and Laos. The plain in the valley is where many tribal people live and farm. They live on agriculture and raise livestock but they lack the budget to successfully run their farm. Each family has to live in lack due to their poverty.
Many families have decided to move to big cities in search of jobs. This then leads to many problems: labor migration, improper schooling, unhealthy marriage, divorce and finally there are orphans who lack love and care.
This young girl did not go to school because she had to take care of her younger brother.
Families cannot support their children to have a good education according to their potential. This is why these children lack life skills needed to survive social problems.
Chiang Rai Hill Tribe Project Begins
Some of the children’s swimming in the stream
In 2005, Surasak and Mon Klumsomphan began an orphanage for Hilltribes project. It was started by the passion of one family. It has been very difficult to effectively operate the full potential of this project because they have been restricted by their meager budget. Their aim was to help the homeless children by providing them with a home and a caring environment.
Project Managers, Mr & Mrs Surasak Klumsomphan
Mr. Surasak Klumsomphan and his wife, Mon, started this project out of concern for orphaned and disadvantaged children from nearby hill tribes. Unlike many other orphanage facilities, these children were cared for at the beginning in Surasak and Mon’s home. At their family home, they added a few additional buildings to their small plot of land.
Many children and youth choose to work in restaurants or karaoke bars because they lack education. They are at high risk to be involved with human trafficking. Violence to children and HIV/AIDS are common results of these problems.
Young girls suffering from advanced HIV/AIDS
Moreover, many poor people from Myanmar and Laos leave their homes to work illegally in Thailand improve their standard of living. However, some of these children and women are deceived into prostitution in Thailand through working in restaurants and karaoke bars. This problem is becoming very common in Thailand.
In 2010, almost 150 human trafficking victims from Laos were sent back home from Thailand. Among them, 119 victims were younger than 18 years old. The human trafficking problem is getting bigger in Laos due to unemployment, poverty and lack of education. These children and young people are vulnerable and need to be trained in life skills, social skills and offered access to education.
Mr. Surasak Klumsomphan and his wife developed programs to teach disadvantaged youth and train them and give them skills to equip them for occupational opportunities that they would not otherwise have. These vital skills provide each young man and woman with the potential to have an income generating vocation and a viable prospect for the future.
This offers a needy generation a chance to have enough clothes, good nutrition, access to medical care and education, proper houses and good standard of living. It engenders hope and gives them a purpose and sense of self-worth knowing that they will be able to support themselves and their families in the future.
Besides this, the orphanage also provides help in vocational training for youth at risk.
Sowing pillow cases and shirts.
The rural hill tribe villagers, especially in Laos are in great need due to the poverty. They lack many of the basic skills and materials. The government does not provide them with much help
The orphanage gives adolescents training in dressmaking and embroidery.
They also give vocational training to poor villagers equipping them with a means to generate income.
Tribal women learn embroidery and to make hill tribe products, providing income for themselves and their families, creating a better quality of life and a solution to the poverty problem.
The Need for a New Place
The Klumsomphan family started this project in their house which is very small. They faced many difficulties due to the limited plot of land and small house. Children do not have sufficient space to play sports or do other outdoor activities which are important to their physical and mental wellbeing.
When children are growing up, they should have a safe house to live in with adequate space proper surroundings. The dormitories for the boys and girls are small. The accommodation in these dormitories is at their absolute limit. Better facilities and larger premises are desperately needed for long term development. More land is required to accommodate more children.
Mr Surasak Klumsomphan surveys the proposed land for new building project.
- Provide a loving and caring home environment for hill tribe orphans and disadvantaged children suffering from abuse, divorce or family’s inability to provide care
- Prevent children at risk from becoming victims of human trafficking, brutality, exploitation and HIV/AIDS
- Provide access to education for the hill tribe children and orphans who are deprived of education.
- Improve quality of life by emphasizing ethics, citizenship and morality.
- To equip vulnerable children and youth with life skills and to acquire training for employment to succeed as young adults in the community.
- Children and youth who are orphans, needy, lack education opportunity and are at risk.
- Children and youth in Chiang Rai who are potential victims of human trafficking.
- Tribal children of poor villages in rural area of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar.
Plan for new project building development
Children and youth of the orphanage in their tribal dress.
The orphanage is a working model that demonstrates what initiative and an enterprising vision can achieve. They need your support to save more children from the grips of poverty and human trafficking. Your gift can go a long way to making another life better.