These children, who were often very young, were either working in menial jobs such as garbage collection, or were simply at home or on the streets while their parents were at work, sometimes caring for other younger siblings.
To address the needs of these children, the Marist Mission Ranong (MMR) began a Child Protection programme.
The programme’s aim is twofold:
- to provide care and a safe environment for the children during the day;
- to provide some basic education while attempting to assist the children to transition to a more formal educational facility.
There are now 30 children attending the Child Protection programme each day.
The children are collected from their homes and driven to the Marist Education Centre, where they receive a few hours of instruction in basic Thai, Burmese, English and Maths.
The children also have a hot lunch at the centre, which for some may be their first meal of the day.
There is a special focus on Thai language, as this may allow some of the children to be enrolled in a Thai school.
Once graduated from the Marist Education Centre, the Child Protection programme maintains a monitoring role in these children’s education, and tries to help with any problems that the children encounter at school.