Streetkids and marginalised youth in Bangkok
|Streetkids waiting by the road|
There are many streetkids in Bangkok, thousands, though it would not be accurate for me to use the word "kids" as very often I would meet those between the ages of 13-24. They are categorise as young people.
During my frequent visits to Bangkok, I've managed to assist some of them into support groups, managed by them, for them. I focus on life skills, an informal education-based initiative which equips them with skills: critical thinking, problem solving, decision making, communication and conflict resolution. The goal is to enable young people to make informed decisions affecting their lives.
Language is a challenge as I barely can say "how are you?" in Thai. However I am always fortunate to depend on my harm reduction networks along with the sex workers activists to assist me in reaching out to young people.
Young people, lacking in life skills, are usually neglected in Bangkok's mainstream employment process. Poverty, and struggling against a maturing identity, has prevented many marginalised young people from stable livelihood (income). They are not keen to continue their education, though nearly all are interested in self-employment. Crime seems a growing menace in Bangkok, and naturally due to prejudice, ignorance and stigma, society and the media are quick to point the blame at vulnerable young people. Indeed, the challenges appear formidable, but just like these brave, street-smart young people, I am optimistic about life in an urban poor setting. There's always a way, and nothing is impossible.