“Since the family does not have stable incomes from growing vegetables, and has debt due to the father’s illness, the whole family does not want their 16 year old daughter to continue her education because they have to pay a lot and the cost of the transport is expensive everyday day. Her dream however is to at least finish another year, to grade 12.”
– Taken from One Sky profile
One Sky works to support vulnerable children and their families in the border district of Sangkhlaburi in Western Thailand. Established 8 years ago it is committed to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and aims to reverse the overuse of unregulated private children’s homes in Thailand and to support more children to live with their own families, kinship or foster carers. A local team provides family support services include monthly food support, house repairs, education support, health support and advocacy, counselling, parenting skills, family strengthening, income generation and home-based food production.
A cornerstone of their work is monthly education scholarships for migrant and minority group children living in private children’s homes to enable them to go to school whilst returning to live with their own families. These are very poor families and the children have often experienced sexual and physical abuse. Thai schools are free, but uniform, transport and secondary-school lunches are not and there are only two high schools in this huge district meaning long journeys to school. Transport and lunches are too expensive for very poor families and since 2019 PAWA has supported the project with these costs. A recent example is the family of a rubber cutting family of Karen ethnicity with no Thai ID. When the eldest daughter (16) knew her younger sister was ready to start High School she had to drop out of her education to work in order to keep her younger siblings in school as the costs were too high for the family. One Sky were able to talk to the family and intervene, using PAWA funds to get both sisters back into school.
Covid 19 closures coincided with some of the long school break and hit the families hard economically and creating additional demand for education scholarships. In 2021 up to 100 teenage girls will benefit from these through PAWA funding.