Kan Mongkol is a social worker at ‘The Hub’, a shelter of ChildLine Foundation. He had been supporting street children before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in Bangkok, Thailand.
“These days have been challenging because with COVID-19, we need to be more secure about children's health. So, we need to make new plans to organise and manage. We need to increase the donation bags.”
The Hub had been supporting street children for many years. Being strategically located near a major train station, the shelter is able to provide a temporary location for street children to get food, use hygiene facilities, and mental support. This was particularly difficult during the pandemic.
Kan added, “We still gave them all their basic needs, food, and donation bags. We gave them knowledge about the need to be vaccinated. Also, we take them to get the clinics to check if they have the virus. The most important thing is to keep in touch with them because they want someone to talk to during these tough times. Just being beside them gives them suggestions and spirit”.
ChildLine Thailand is a partner organisation of Terre des Hommes Netherlands. Through the Down to Zero Alliance and the Building Back Better programme, street children can have access to support that they need such as employment and educational opportunities. Without these support, these street children are at an extreme risks to sexual exploitation and the virus.
Kan said, “During the pandemic, we are so proud of our children. Even as adults, we are all stressed about work, and lifestyle but these children fight for themselves and never give up. They still try to find a job. At times, they ask for help and suggestions but they never said I give up. That means they can live by themselves already. The only thing that we expect from them is that they can walk by themselves. We are like their friends walking with them till they arrive at their destiny”.
As the Building Back Better programme reaches to an end in May 2022, ChildLine Thailand will continue to support children through its shelter and call centre. The issues of sexual exploitation of children will unfortunately continue but the work against it will last.