Marginalized Children in Bangkok Slums

We all know that children in slums are marginalized, primarily because of poverty. They face stigmatization by a society that merely sigh at the sight of them, or frowning when seeing barefooted children walking towards them with cupped palms, in the traditional Thai greeting.
Klong Toey has a population of one million people, both locals and foreigners, with makeshift houses built with planks, cement and bricks. Rusted zinc roofs, faded paint and some hut-like structures scattered as far as the eye can see. Congestion within these living quarters are common, two and three families are known to live in one house. Poverty, hardship remains firmly in the neighborhood.

One organization has planted itself in Klong Toey, a sprawling slum. The Foundation for Slum Child Care (FSCC).

A woman, in her mid-30s approached me, sensing perhaps my curiosity as I stepped into the center at Art Narong Road. Within minutes, we were sharing the situation of children and young people living in the slums, from Thailand to India, and to Indonesia. Needs and concerns of children and their parents are similar, a borderless realm of slums and the deprivation of basic human rights. Economic inequality creates a caste system of those born into a world without choices and limited opportunities. She imparted her views of the need to fight for the rights of the child, regardless of their nationality and gender.
Bangkok Foundation for Slum Child Care
This remarkable organization, with a dozen hardworking staff and trained volunteers running the daycare center for the children and conduct outreach activities to the homes of the parents. HIV/AIDS, drug use and harm reduction, family planning, prenatal care are just among the many activities they provide. They diligently look after 90 children. FSCC has three other houses, called "baan" in Thai:

  • Baan Sri Nagarindra with 50 children, which is in the Nong Kham garbage dump
  • Baan Han Kwam Wang, in the On-nut dumpsite, catering to 30 children
  • Baan Sau Yai with 30 children, in the Prachu-u-thit community

Bangkok Thailand
In general, the surrounding community are empowered to improve the quality of life for their children though daily challenges of irregular income in the informal work sector, unemployment and increasing cost of living prevent most from escaping poverty. According to FSCC, urban poverty makes children and their families vulnerable to malnutrition, poor sanitation, inaccessible healthcare, violence and the never-ending cycle of debts.

Despite the existence of agencies under the Bangkok provincial government, these slums and severe cases of homelessness are growing. Poverty "eradication" programs haven't been successful, perhaps due to BMA's mismanagement of resources and the lack of priority placed on folks who are without special connection. Where is corporate social responsibility? I guess, many corporations are far too busy looking for profitability, engrossed by greed.
Donations are specifically for the children, ranging from FSCC's milk and food programs, to an emergency and special aid fund. Even with the funding from authorities, businesses and private individuals, the center is in need of sponsorship.

I've been to FSCC Klong Toey twice, spoke to the staff, and both times the experience of seeing dedicated caregivers and children leaves me more determined to assist them as best as I can. You can too.


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