Posts Tagged ‘poverty’

It is a side of Bangkok that tourists seldom see: not far from the Buddhist temples, glitzy malls and go-go bars, is a neighbourhood of shacks and squat homes in narrow alleys with open gutters in the city’s oldest and largest slum.

Klong Toey is home to about 100,000 people, mostly rural migrants from northern Thailand who came to the city for jobs.

While many live in brightly painted homes with motorbikes parked outside, others live in shacks without running water or electricity.

It’s not that different from the days when 66-year-old Prateep Ungsongtham was growing up there with her six siblings.

“The number of people living here has doubled since the time I was a kid – yet their condition is not that much better,” she said in an interview at her Duang Prateep Foundation in Klong Toey.

Continue reading: TODAY Online


Interesting and informative articles regarding Thailand:

  1. ‘Always a fight’ for Bangkok’s slum dwellers, says activist of 50 years
  2. Bank accounts for fishermen in Thailand can help end abuses, officials say
  3. Unfair Pay, Labor Abuse Persist in Thailand’s Fishing Industry, UN Says
  4. ‘Progress and persistent abuses’ in Thailand’s fishing industry, says U.N.
  5. Thai rubber farmers urged to cut down trees to drive up prices
  6. Thailand receives Fukushima’s first fish export since 2011 nuclear disaster
  7. Blind singers break through Bangkok’s sound barrier

The Ministry of Education has recently found out that over 88 million baht out of a total of 166 million baht being disbursed from the so-called Sema Pattana Chevit Fund supposedly for poor children had been embezzled by corrupt officials for themselves and their relatives for the past ten years.

Education Minister Teerakiat Jareonsettasin said that the corruption concerning the Fund for poor children was uncovered during the internal auditing of the 2017 budget for the Office of the Permanent Secretary of Education.

He said that the embezzlement of the Fund had been going on undetected since 2008, with about 88 million baht of the fund, including 12 million baht in 2017, being transferred into the bank accounts of relatives and friends of the corrupt officials instead of the bank accounts of the poor children.

Continue reading: Probe found 88 million baht has been embezzled from fund for poor students

The Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC)’s probe into corruption at the protection centres for the destitutes has found irregularities at at least 24 centres nationwide.

PACC assistant secretary-general Pol Lt Col Wannop Somjintanakul said PACC officials detected irregularities in 10 more provinces in addition to 14 provinces where corruption was earlier detected.

The 24 provinces are:

He said authorities have questioned recipients of the cash fund and found some were not qualified to receive the fund.

A 10-million-baht fund was allocated to each centre to hand over to the underprivileged.

Meanwhile Royal Thai Police deputy commissioner Pol Gen Wirachai Songmetta recommended people whose names were forged to claim the cash aids to file complaints with the police to confirm that they were not involved in the corruption.

This was to avoid legal consequence in case these  corruption cases go to the court.

Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai, Bueng Kan, Nong Khai, Surat Thani, Saraburi, Ayutthaya, Trat, Roi Et, Udon Thani, Nan, Sa Kaeo, Krabi, Trang, Yala, Songkhla, Narathiwat, Phattalung, Chumphon, Buri Ram, Surin, Ang Thong, Phitsanulok, Chaiyaphum.

Initial probe found staff at these protection centres allegedly involve with document forgery and misappropriation of cash aids aimed from the recipients, Pol Col Wannop said.

Recipients on the list were given either partial aid or did not receive the money at all. Some were not qualified to receive the financial aid but their names were on the recipient list.

Pol Col Wannop said investigators would submit initinal finding to the PACC board for consideration and for setting up sub-committees to proceed with further investigation to identify the wrongdoers.

Source: ThaiPBS

“I finally broke the glass ceiling,” said Patimoh Sadiyamu, the first Muslim woman to hold the position of vice provincial governor in Thailand’s southern border provinces of Narathiwat, home to over 2 million residents, and the scene of escalating violence.

A native of Yala, one of the three provinces in the area, Sadiyamu, now 52, is not new to politics, having spent almost three decades in the Interior Ministry. But coming from an impoverished rural area where Muslim women hardly stepped outside their homes, and lacked political know-how and access to politics, Sadiyamu’s journey to political leadership wasn’t easy.

“Education and mentorship of my parents lifted me out of poverty,” said Sadiyamu. “Education gave me a chance to learn to live with diversity of beliefs and religions in our rural communities.”

She firmly believes that “Women too have a political responsibility and an important role to play in public life … they are agents of peace when they are economically, socially and politically empowered.”

Continue reading: UN Women

Little boy of blue 

Posted: January 22, 2017 in Thailand
Tags: , , , ,

Through twisted narrow lanes and swaying shadows, a boy wanders deeper into a Bangkok slum.

My thoughts.

Community-based programs, NGOs and privately-run social initiatives are actively involved in areas where Thailand military government support is not sufficient. Often the junta-led “government” projects are cosmetic, and fail to provide much-need policy changes that would greatly improve quality of life.

However efforts are still being made in forging partnerships between NGOs and the government. It’s a fact that the role of an NGO is important especially in the rural parts of the country where poverty incidence is high.

One of my concerns is rural micro-finance programs implemented by NGOs and provincial/federal authorities. Such programs provide valuable services to the rural poor although I have yet to see indicators of accountability and transparency in the financial aspects of these programs. There’s also the issue of questionable deliverables (unachievable expectations, low capacity) and the late dispersement of monies to the stakeholders.

Core problems of social programming are often related to the lack of participation in democratic decision-making. Perhaps some NGOs and officials do not want to see an empowered marginalized community to make informed decisions and lobby for their rights. In this case, from the absence of their rights to a transparent process of not just the budget allocation but also to the conceptualization and project monitoring.

I once mentioned to someone from a reputable local “poverty eradication” NGO that its within their interest to encourage communities to be part and parcel of problem-solving in the programs. But rather than consider and consult the stakeholders about this issue, the officer was rather defensive about the state of affairs. Apparently foreigners do not understand ‘Thainess’ and as such have no business expressing my views. It could also be that he and his organization prefer the comfort zone of prescribing solutions to the communities, rather than consultation.

Anyway as the national economy plunges, its difficult to not come to the conclusion that corruption will increase and that marginalized communities will be extremely vulnerability; as flawed systems, pride and human greed override the original objective of community-service.

Economic growth can help reduce poverty through an increase in household income, providing earnings to obtain the minimum basic needs. That being said, equality and other rights-based concerns must be tackled by all parties to enable a reduction of poverty. I’m not so sure whether the junta realise this, or maybe they just don’t care. I wonder.