The work of Childline Thailand is creating a system for helping youth continue their education, and become independent, empowered, individuals.
Childline Thailand works to provide children in Thailand with trusted access to protection, health, and human services.
It was the first organisation in the region to provide free counselling services, and since its inception, it has helped more than one million children.
Ilya Smirnoff, Director of Childline Thailand briefs Youth Time readers on their work, introduces the Hub Centre and also shares volunteering opportunities for young people all across the globe.
After finishing this article, you will acknowledge how the Childline Thailand has been fundamental in the development of child protection issues and will continue advocating for child rights issues through all levels of Thai society.
This organisation carries in itself wonderful and inspiring work. In numbers, this means 9,535 calls received, 21,429 online counselling sessions and 10,529 services for children in street situations only in 2020.
Working Around the Clock for Children
Nowadays Childline Thailand receives most contacts from children via social media messages, in particular Facebook Messenger.
“When a child calls or messages we assess their situation and take appropriate action such as contacting emergency services, offering counselling or opening a case file and looking into legal details on their behalf.” he says.
Its call centre is staffed by qualified counsellors who answer calls 24/7.
“On average a child contacts us every 12 minutes. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Childline has experienced an increase in calls and messages from youths concerned about their schooling, family issues (such as parents losing income, or being frustrated/abusive), isolation and mental health problems.” he adds.
Childline’s communications team educates and inspires children and youths by posting original content on social media.
“Daily cartoons are drawn by our graphic designer to reflect issues in Thai society and draw attention to our counselling services.”
He also shares that just in 2020 their social media impact was 45 million impressions, mostly on Facebook and Twitter.
Helping Children in Streets
There are many dangers on the streets of Bangkok and some youths will experience abuse including child sexual exploitation.
The Hub works closely with Thailand’s Department for Special Investigation to try to prevent this.
In this part of the piece, Smrinoff introduces us to the Hub Centre for children in street situations and how it helps children to live a better life.
“It provides support to youths under the age of 18 (and sometimes above) to help them to progress from their street lifestyles. We offer basic needs support including free meals, showers and a safe space to rest. The centre is continually working on the best approaches to helping homeless children.”
The Hub also provides healthcare including arrangements for HIV testing, nutritional advice and counselling.
“Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic we organised activities for children including exercise such as Thai boxing, swimming and visiting parks. We have also taken groups of children away on camping trips where we did group therapy sessions and activities including art and drama.”
Where possible, they try to help youths to leave the street by reuniting with their family.
“In some cases, we offer mediation between family members and conduct assessments to see if it’s safe for them to return home. Often it’s the case that children have left home due to abuse, but in some situations it’s due to poverty and the children have felt like they were a burden and travelled to Bangkok to try to make money to help the family.”
We also help youths to complete their basic education and find job opportunities so that they can become independent; he adds.
“There is access to harmful drugs such as ice (crystal meth) which youths may be influenced to take by others and become addicted to help escape from depression, or numb the pain of abuse. Other youths can get involved with gangs and survive by committing crimes such as theft or robbery.” he says, when counting the dangers children are exposed to.
In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly difficult for the Hub as the government required the centre to close.
“Homeless youths were unable to use the showers or enter the building. In response we provided three takeaway meals each day and COVID-19 survival bags with medical supplies including masks and hand gel. We offered counselling on the phone and online. Where necessary we provided youths with internet credit.”
Join the Movement and Donate or Volunteer
If you are feeling inspired by the crucial work that Childline Thailand is doing for children’s wellbeing, then keep in mind that they welcome contributions from people around the world.
In this day and age, it’s possible to volunteer remotely, whether it’s writing, designing or analytics, please contact us for volunteer opportunities.
Childline Thailand is independently funded, and it does not receive money from the Thai government, instead it relies on support from international NGOs such as UNICEF, Terre des Hommes and World Childhood Fund (amongst others).
It receives a small amount of private and corporate donations and provides services with the help of volunteers and low running costs.
Childline relies on donations and grants from other NGOs, any donations will go directly to helping children in Thailand.
Join the cause and Donate NOW!
Pictures courtesy of Childline Thailand.
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