The Northern Hill Tribes of Thailand suffer at the hand of extreme racial discrimination. Many people lack good jobs, children are refused education, and citizenship is often withheld. Despite the fact that many of these tribes have been a part of the cultural fabric of Thailand for hundreds of years, there has been little reconciliation and few efforts to grant equality for these people groups.
In many cases, this heavy discrimination leads to desperation amongst the peoples of these tribes. Many resort to drug smuggling and prostitution. The imminent penalty for such offenses is imprisonment. Some of the most heartbreaking stories in Thailand come from the children who suffer imprisonment alongside their parents.
While this system is unheard of in the American sphere, it is not atypical for children in Thailand to be put in prison with their mothers. There they are subjected to a childhood run by prison guards within tiny cells with meager rations and surrounded by a community of criminals. Needless to say, prison is an unfit place for young girls. And the village is not much better, as neglect and a high probability sexual abuse and trafficking perpetuate the cycle of poverty and imprisonment.
Baan Zion believes these girls deserve better than that.
In 2003, Baan Zion began as a response to the harsh prison environments where many Thai girls were living. Girls are especially vulnerable in a prison context and they saw the immediate need to remove them from this vulnerable position. This home passionately pursues healing, health and hope for these little girls. And, through the years, their passion for the disadvantaged in Thailand has only grown.
A few years ago, they began working alongside prisons to rehabilitate the mothers of the children within their care. To sustain the mother and child bond regular visits are made to the mothers in the eight prisons they work with. When possible, mothers are offered the possibility to start a new life with their child upon release. They help mothers rebuild their lives by offering resocialization, schooling, and accompaniment to the local job market.
During the last 7 years, more than 80 children have been rescued by the work of Baan Zion. At present, 46 girls are living there, being taken care of by 10 full time Thai staff members.
But the work is not finished.
On a regular basis, both mothers and prison authorities ask for Baan Zion to take in new girls. The only obstacle rendering them unable to provide for the other girls left subject to a childhood of imprisonment is a lack of funding.
As we tell the amazing stories of these precious little girls this week, consider giving to the cause of Baan Zion in Thailand. We believe, as they do, that these precious Thai girls deserve the healing, health and hope that Baan Zion offers.