Saturday, July 02, 2011

Migrant and Stateless Children in Border Areas

Conferences and meetings occupied most of our days this week. We received an invitation to attend a Conference sponsored by a well-established and large NGO here in Mae Sai. The theme is: “Working Collaboratively for Child Rights Protection Policies for Migrant and Stateless Children in Border Areas.” We did not why we were invited. The only reason we could think of is that this big NGOs are starting to know that we exist.

The participants were divided into groups. NGO, religious group (monks, pastors, and catholic priests), and foundation. At first we were dumped together with the religious group. However, when they realized that our knowledge of Thai is very limited, they put us together with the international group. Apparently, they were expecting more foreigners were coming to the conference. But they didn't came, so Narlin and I were the only people in the international group. They assigned persons who interpreted for us and facilitated us in the discussion.

Nine groups were formed and each group was given the opportunity to present the result of the small group discussions. And since were were the only English speaking person, I ended up presenting what we are doing in our children shelter ministry.

In my impromptu presentation, I told the audience that we are just a small group with very limited resources. However, when I was presenting what we are doing, the audience realized that our experience is extensive. We provide shelter for the migrant and stateless children, we were able to rescue a little girl from child trafficking, we were able to take care of the orphaned children, we had the opportunity to take in child whose parents had died of AIDS/HIV, and we are able to send the children to Thai school.

After my presentation, some people serving from different organizations approached us and expressed appreciation of what we have accomplished for the children. Likewise, we were happy to be part of the conference. Our network has widened, people and organizations are starting to recognize the ministry that we have been doing for the children.

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