Our Impact in Thailand
On Boxing Day 2004, a huge tsunami struck coastal areas around the Indian Ocean, causing widespread devastation and the deaths of at least 280,000 people. One of the worst-affected countries was Thailand, where well over a thousand children lost both parents to the waves.
Rebuilding lost lives
SOS Children’s Villages responded immediately. First of all, we got food, medical care and shelter to the victims. Next, we did all we could to locate relatives able to take care of children orphaned by the tsunami. Sadly, it soon became clear that many children had no friends or family to care for them. The only way to be sure these children would be cared for was to provide that care ourselves.
In 2008, we opened a new Children’s Village in Phuket. Here, we provide a safe environment in which children who lost everything could begin to rebuild their lives after the trauma of that terrible day. We also work to enhance their long-term prospects, providing an education that will ensure them a bright and prosperous adult life. From nursery as infants to vocational training as young adults, children from the Village as well as its surrounding neighbourhood reap the full benefits of a comprehensive schooling.
Our children help others as millions are displaced by flooding
Disaster struck again in 2011 when Thailand was hit by its worst-ever flooding. 13 million people were affected, and flooding spread from river basins to inundate parts of Bangkok for the first time since 1995. For a time, our Village in the coastal suburb of Bangpoo was on high alert, and the children were evacuated.
Luckily, flood defences ensured the site was well protected and the Village escaped without damage. In fact, Village reports told how the floods brought out the best in the children as they joined in enthusiastically with the relief effort. They clubbed together to donate pocket money to help victims of the floods, and joined voluntary efforts to distribute much-needed food and resources to those affected.
Our work in Thailand is a fantastic affirmation of our power to change the lives of children who have suffered the worst nature has to offer.
SOS Hatyai nurtures a rare talent
Hasun has lived at our Village in Hatyai since he was a few days old. As he grew up, his family and teachers discovered he had an extraordinary talent. Hasun was a footballing virtuoso.
The Village director, Mr Pongsak, recognised his fantastic ability early on. He knew straight away that Hasun was something special. “Every time he was on the field, Hasun was outstanding,” Mr Pongsak recalls.
The Village was keen to nurture his incredible talent. Professional coaching had to be arranged. Hasun worked very hard, and finally passed a local competition to be selected as a regional player for Hatyai province.
Even while playing, Hasun has never neglected his studies. He performs well, and is keen to go on to higher education. His main aim though is to play at an international level. “My dream is to be part of the national team,” Hasun says.
“I want to bring pride to everyone”, he adds. “Especially my mother in Hatyai!”