Mar 26, 2018

Arming Rural Thai Girls With The Tools To Protect

Since July 2017, we have reached over 3,000 high school students through our ‘Better Me: Claim Our Rights’ workshops in Ubon Ratchathani. The objectives of the half-day event are twofold: raise awareness of the rights of girls and women under Thai laws, and arm them with the tools to protect themselves. Our target audience are normally high school girls between the ages of 14 and 18. On some occasions, we have opened it up to boys as well so that they have an understanding of what is acceptable and unacceptable in their interactions with their female school mates.

Over the three-hour session, we cover a lot of ground including identifying risky situations such as sexual harassment, child labour and abuses, dangers on the internet, domestic violence, and human smuggling. We also provide the girls with basic self-defence training, and resources they can tap on in times of trouble.

From our observations, we can tell most of the girls we have trained are acutely unaware of what constitutes sexual abuse and domestic violence. By some of the accounts we have heard, acts that are clearly domestic violence are, in their eyes, normal and tolerable behaviour, even when they were on the receiving end of these abuses. With regard to sexual harassment, almost all did not know there was a continuum of abuse that ranges from physical to mental. And for those who had experienced some form of sexual harassment or abuse, there was a feeling of shame and guilt, and then silence.

It has always been heartening to hear from students that they find our ‘Better Me’ workshop useful and informative as it prepares them before they move to big urban centres such as Bangkok. It is our aim that through awareness raising, these young girls from the northeast of the country will be more prepared to navigate the big urban centres, such as Bangkok, that they tend to migrate to for work after high school. With knowledge of their rights under the law, they will hopefully not find themselves in the same predicament as their predecessors who get trapped in abusive relationships working as undocumented workers in the informal sector in the capital city.

Students’ Feedback: It was a good workshop as I gained new knowledge and learnt basic self-defence. I want to join a similar workshop again.

Our work would not have been possible if not for the multitudes of donors who have supported us through the GlobalGiving platform. A lot more ground needs to be covered though, and we hope you will continue to support us in reaching out to thousands more in rural Thailand.

With gratitude,

Pratthanadee Team

'Safe Road' activity
'Safe Road' activity
Students' Feedback
Students' Feedback
Dec 29, 2017

Reaching 50 girls in Sisaket Province!

Self-Defense Demonstration
Self-Defense Demonstration

Since 15th August 2017, thanks to the generous GlobalGiving donors, the Pratthanadee team was able to run a workshop on the 8th December 2017 at Bungmaluwittaya School. However, this particular workshop marked an exciting expansion in our work because we were able to take the workshop beyond and Ubon Ratchathani and into Sisaket Province. Sisaket, is one of the northeastern “Issan” provinces of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are Surin, Roi Et, Yasothon, and Ubon Ratchathani. To the south it borders Oddar Meancheay and Preah Vihear of Cambodia.

It takes about an hour and 20 minutes by car to travel to the school from PTND’s main office in Ubon. Approximately 50 girls in grade 10 to attended the 3-hour workshop. None of them had ever participated in this kind of workshop before. The PTND team had a very good time with the students, as they were very engaged and willing to learn the new skills that the team presented.

From staff observations during the group assignment portion of the training, the girls didn’t fully even understand the definition of “violence,” they types of activities that are considered a part of violent behaviors, or how they could be empowered to recognize the precursors to a violent situation and disengage from it. The team also noticed that the girls were largely unaware that violence is always harmful, and were largely ignorant of violence issues. They also resoundingly lacked information about who could help and support them if or when they or their someone they knew were facing the issue.

In our workshop, we provided them with the information and skills they needed to recognize and report crimes against them, avoid dangerous situations, and respond sensibly in times of threat. The workshop also coversed the following:

  • Awareness of and Prevention of Danger: Raising awareness of a range of risks (including relationships, harassment, financial dependency, pregnancy, and online grooming), as well as teaching tactics for avoiding dangers and ways to deal with incidents that may arise.
  • Basic Self-Defense: Training in basic moves, such as wrist grabs, lapel grabs, and protection on the ground.
  • Women’s Laws and Rights: Raising awareness of the laws relevant to women, such as procedure in reporting domestic violence or assault to the police. We also provide resources and further support when it is needed.

After workshop, girls understood more about the issue, and understood how to report violent acts, as well as avoid certain risks.We also taught them basic self-defense and how to escape from serious situations. As you can see from the student feedback below, the girls truly found the information and workshop helpful and worthwhile (translated from Thai to English):

  • Like the knowledge that gain from workshop today. Can able to use it on the basic self-defense. And able to tell my parent, sister and friend in the village.
  • Like this activity a lot. I like the way the trainer teach us. The workshop gives me a lot of knowledge. I know how to protect myself which I don’t know it before. I really like it.
  • I like it a lot. This is a very good advice. Thank you for the knowledge that I able to adapt to use it in day life.
  • Like this activity because give me knowledge on the basic self-defense, I understand more about rights and law and how to get them to support. So much fun.
  • Gain more knowledge on the basic self-defense, can use it in day life, and able to pass this knowledge to friends.

We have been able to train 151 girls in 3 different schools so far this year, as well as expand out workshops into a new province. We hope to be able to reach out to more schools next year, but, as always, this depends upon donations from dedicated individuals like you. Should we receive enough donations, we have preliminary plans to be able to conduct a new workshop in May of 2018, the beginning of the new school semester.

Please support us and continue to help us reach girls with this crucial knowledge by:

  • Making a donation today – no matter the value, every amount counts!
  • Sharing our project with your friends, family, and colleagues

Last, we would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our dedicated and generous donors, supporters, and their families a blessed New Year full of peace, laughter, and health. Have a prosperous New Year!

Sisaket Province, Thailand
Sisaket Province, Thailand
Workshop Group Activity
Workshop Group Activity
Workshop Group Presentation
Workshop Group Presentation
Workshop Picture
Workshop Picture

Links:

Oct 2, 2017

'Claim your Rights' Workshop at Huatapanwittayakh

Provinces in Thailand's 'Isaan' region.
Provinces in Thailand's 'Isaan' region.

Dear Friends & Supporters,

Thanks to the support and donations that we have received to since July, we were able to complete our second workshop for this campaign. Please read on to hear about what we have been able to accomplish over the last three months:

On 15 August 2017, Pratthanadee Staff traveled to Huatapanwittayakhom School in Ubon Ratchathani province where they completed the Better Me: Claim your Rights Workshop with 56 girls between the ages of 13 and 18. In total, for this campaign, we have now trained 101 girls at two different schools, and have already scheduled another training for November with a new school.

Ubon Ratchathani province is located in northeast Thailand in ‘Isaan.’ The economy of this region is agriculturally based, and advancements in farming technologies and machinery have resulted in increased jobs for men, but few opportunities for women. Seven of Thailand’s ten most impoverished provinces are located in Isaan, including Ubon Ratchathani where Pratthanadee’s second office is located in Ubon, and it is from this office that we manage and run our ‘Better Me’ for Girls program.

 

Girls growing up in poor provinces, such as Ubon, usually do not have access to the training or skills that they need to be competitive in the rapidly advancing marketplace of Thailand’s capital city, Bangkok. As a result, they often find themselves in low-paid, unstable work, or the sex trade, damaging their self-esteem and their health.

It is for these reasons that Pratthanadee focuses our workshops with girls in this area of Thailand. We reach teenage girls before they move to Bangkok, and provide them with the skills and guidance they need to protect themselves and plan for their futures, helping to ensure that they are able to break the cycle of poverty and avoid pitfalls that could put them in future danger.    

We equipped the girls who attended our workshop with the skills to recognize their rights, protect themselves from harm, and plan for a better future. Through our three-hour workshops in schools, we help girls to understand:

  1. How to stay safe if they should decide to live or work in Bangkok,
  2. Their rights and learn about laws that are there to help protect them,
  3. How to protect themselves through basic self-defense,
  4. How to report crimes against them,
  5. How to access further help and training, and
  6. How to plan for a safe and successful future.

In order to gather information on how impactful our trainings are for girls who participate, Pratthanadee staff conducts pre- and post-testing. The Huatapanwittayakhom School training resulted in a 23% increase in girls being able to identify a violent crime committed, even by a family member. As well, by the end of the session participants showed increased understanding about the kinds of online information shared and behaviors that could put them at risk of being targeted by predators.

Our staff members demonstrating some basic self-defense moves to workshop participants. 

As well, our staff observed that the beneficiaries were particularly keen to learn about basic self-defense and showed a mastery of the moves that were taught to them. 

The direct feedback from the girls was perhaps the most telling. For example, one girl wrote: “I am so glad to attend this workshop. I learn new things and gain new knowledge. I learn how to protect myself with basic self-defense. I want to have this kind of activity again. I really like it.”

Another girl noted that, “I really like it. It was so fun. I gain more knowledge about how to avoid the danger situation and use basic self-defense.”

Overall, our most recent project was a tremendous success, and we are eager to start a new project soon. However, we need your support to make that possible!

Please share our campaign with your friends, family, coworkers, and social networks. Or consider making a monthly donation to help us reach our goal! Only with your help, can we teach another 56 girls to claim their rights and protect themselves in November.

Girls' goal mapping activity
Girls' goal mapping activity
Basic self-defense demonstration
Basic self-defense demonstration
Participant feedback example
Participant feedback example
Presentation
Presentation
Girls participating in workshop acitivty
Girls participating in workshop acitivty
 
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