While Thailand has managed to keep the rates of covid infection low, the country has nevertheless felt a massive economic blow due to the ongoing global pandemic. When Thailand shut it’s borders to tourists, the people suffered. Tourism is one of Thailand’s main economic sectors, with many of the bar girls, tuk tuk drivers, factory workers, and farm workers coming from Issan.
It is common in this area for parents to leave their kids at home with the grandparents and extended family to raise while they travel south to work and send money home. When the country shut down, there was a mass exodus from Bangkok and other tourist heavy cities; everyone lost their jobs and came home. When you look at the rates of infection alone, Thailand is looking great! But look beyond the numbers and you find many families who were already on the poverty line now jobless and struggling to survive. The health system hasn’t been overwhelmed, but economically thousands of people in poverty have been.
Thailands borders remain shut to tourists for now, and there is not much hope of the economy recovering or these families being able to get back to work and start earning money again. Hundreds of small businesses have had to close their doors forever due to inability to pay rent and running costs. People are going hungry and unable to feed themselves and their families.
Schools opened up this week with social distancing measures in place. We have gone over 30 days without any local transmission of covid in Thailand, so we are hopeful! Buengkan is no longer in lockdown but the country is not allowing international tourists yet, so our volunter program is still temporarily suspended.
While we are currently not accepting volunteers, your donations are needed now more than ever to help the elders, families, and at risk individuals in our Thai community that we have been workng with over the years! Your donations also go towards small schools we have been working with and helpling them provide children with a free lunch at school, one meal a day that these kids might not otherwise be getting at home.
We believe our most important task at the moment is to continue creating and giving out care packages. Many of the people who are receiving these care packages are not likely to be getting adequate nutrition without it.