10 December 2015

"Dao" and “Kanompang” from Hormones 3 series and expert speak about online safety



Sananthachat Thanapatpisal and Nichaphat Chaichaipolrat, or “Dao”  and “Kanompang” from Hormones 3: The Final Season series and Assoc. Prof. Jessada Denduangboripant, lecturer at the Faculty of Science of Chulalongkorn University, visited UNICEF to speak with young people online about the benefits social media bring to lives, and how to avoid potential risks. The talk was aired live on YouTube on 10 December 2015.

01 December 2015

Mean streets: helping adolescents at risk of HIV in Chiang Mai

Kum Poon, 14, sells sex on the streets of Chiang Mai, Thailand
© UNICEF EAPRO/2015/Andy Brown
Chiang Mai is one of Thailand’s main tourist destinations. It also a city in which prostitution is rife. Kum Poon*, 14, sleeps rough in a park near the city’s sex district. He makes some money working for street vendors, but also sells sex to tourists and locals. Adults who exploit Kum Poon for sex violate his rights as a child and put him at grave risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.

It wasn’t always this way. In 2001, Kum Poon was born in a hill tribe village outside Chiang Mai. His parents died when he was very young. For a while he was cared for by relatives, but they were too poor to look after him, so they took him to Viengping Children’s Home, where he lived until he was six. It’s a pleasant home on the edge of Chiang Mai, with fresh air, lots of open space and a large, well equipped playground.

“That was the happiest time in my life,” Kum Poon recalls. “I was still young and had no burdens or difficulties in my life. I used to play games, climb trees and draw pictures of flowers. The teachers were kind to me.”

30 November 2015

Location, location: how mobile dating apps are driving an increase in adolescent HIV

Nest (right) and friend Jesse look at gay dating apps on a smart phone
© UNICEF EAPRO/2015/Andy Brown
Nest is a 19-year-old gay teenager living in Bangkok. Like many other adolescents, he uses mobile apps such as Grindr to meet up for dates. “I use apps to meet other guys nearby,” he says. “I don’t like to have sex at the first meeting, I prefer to chat and get to know the person first. But some of my friends just meet up for sex.”

According to a new report, ‘Adolescents: Under the Radar in the Asia-Pacific AIDS Response’, the region is facing a ‘hidden epidemic’ of HIV among adolescents. Published by the Asia-Pacific Inter-Agency Task Team for Young Key Populations, including UNICEF, the report shows that although new HIV infections are falling overall, they are rising among at-risk adolescents. There are now at least 210,000 adolescents living with HIV in the region, with big cities like Bangkok and Hong Kong hubs of new infections.

31 October 2015

Bringing books to children in remote areas



Story by Heamakarn Sricharatchanya / Video by Metee Thuentap

This story was published in Bangkok Post newspaper on 31 October 2015 

Mae Hong Son, 31 October 2015 Today is a special day for Apisit Sripornlumlert and his friends at Ban Huay Pueng school, which nestles between towering mountains in Mae La Noi district, in the northern Thailand province of Mae Hong Son. It is the day the mobile library is coming to their school, bringing them more than 1,200 children’s books.

23 August 2015

Small schools and quality education

By Hugh Delaney

With only 72 students, Noen Wiang in Nakhon Sawan Province is a small school. That’s not exceptional in Thailand, where over 50% of schools fall into the small school category – defined as having less than 120 students. With a declining population, the number of small schools in Thailand is expected to increase over the coming years, with most small schools located in rural areas.

Kindergarten children learning about shapes and sizes
Prapaphak Jadjan has been Director of Noen Wiang for ten years, and with a teaching staff of only four, she has in the past struggled to provide quality teaching across all grades from Kindergarten through to sixth grade.

18 August 2015

School providing enjoyable learning in mother tongue of local children


Left to right, Siti Aishah Hama, Nihanifa, Muhamad Ikram, Makolifi Abu, Mahdi Ali – first and second grade pupils at Ban Lada School, Pattani Province
By Hugh Delaney

On a recent visit to Pattani Province in the South of Thailand, I paid a visit to a small but remarkable school which is transforming the way in which children are learning. I am quite new to Thailand myself, having arrived in June this year to work with UNICEF on its education programme and I am still learning about the education system and how schools operate in the country. This visit to Ban Lada School and the teachers, parents and children I met and spoke to provided me with a better understanding of what schools and local education authorities are doing to overcome challenges to providing quality education for all children.

10 August 2015

Paula Taylor: Breastfeeding is possible for working moms



Story by Heamakarn Sricharatchanya / Video and photos by Metee Thuentap

Bangkok, 11 August 2015 – To mark World Breastfeeding Week on 1-7 August 2015, UNICEF takes Paula Taylor, Friend of UNICEF, on a field visit to a factory of Marigot Jewellery (Thailand) Co. Ltd. in Bangpu Industrial Estate in Samut Prakan province. Marigot is one of the model workplaces that supports working mothers to breastfeed. Inside the factory, there is a breastfeeding room where staff can come to express breastmilk 2-3 times per day. Refrigerator is also provided so staff can store breastmilk that they collect. A nurse is there to help give advice to working mothers who have problems breastfeeding.

17 February 2015

Not for sale: protecting children exploited for sex in Thailand

Saeng holds a picture he’s drawn of a woman dressed in designer clothes.
© UNICEF EAPRO/2014/Andy Brown
There are no circumstances in which using children for sex is acceptable. HIV Specialist for UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Shirley Mark Prabhu says: “The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has been signed by all countries in this region, is very clear on this point. There is no such thing as a child prostitute. Any child under the age of 18 is a victim of sexual exploitation. It violates their rights to health, education and a childhood.”

07 February 2015

Schools in the Orchard

A Thai teacher teaches migrant children basics of Thai language and their rights.
© UNICEF Thailand/2014/Metee Thuentap

Story by Heamakarn Sricharatchanya / Photos by Metee Thuentap

This story was published in Bangkok Post newspaper on 7 February 2015

Chiang Mai, 1 February 2015 As the last rays of daylight are about to disappear, Aong Mooring, 17, wipes the sweat from his face and puts down his gardening tools in a shed. His long day of work in the orange orchards in Fang district of Chiang Mai has come to an end, and it is now time for something that he has been looking forward to all day – going to school.

23 December 2014

After the tsunami: a Thai fishing village, ten years on



Story by Andy Brown / Video by Jingjai N.

It’s been almost ten years since the Indian Ocean tsunami hit the Thai island of Koh Lanta on 26 December 2004, but talking about it still brings tears to Ampai’s eyes. “I often cry when I talk about the tsunami,” she says apologetically. “It’s always at the back of my mind, like a scar that doesn’t heal.”