Mar 23, 2016

Is Thailand dangerous for girls?

Brainstorming in Groups
Brainstorming in Groups

Is Thailand dangerous for girls? 

According to a group 15 year olds at Bann Nongkhainok School in Ubon Ratchathani – No! Not at all.

We recently ran a focus group with a group of fourteen teenage girls to find out about their perceptions of the dangers around them, and their approach to keeping themselves safe. We were a little concerned with the findings.

When asked about potential risks to women and girls in Thailand, most girls could only list extreme examples gained from the media, such as a high-profile murder or trafficking case. Since they didn’t think this was likely to happen to them or their families – they didn’t worry about it.

When prompted about ‘everyday’ dangers, such as talking to people and posting personal details online, unhealthy relationships, and unwanted pregnancy, the students could not to talk in any detail about possible risks or potential impact on their lives. Their response to dealing with danger was simply to ‘fight and run away’, demonstrating a worryingly incomplete understanding of the complex dangers that they may face over the course of their lives.

Looking at the facts, there is reason to be concerned. In Thailand, nearly half of all women experience violence at the hands of their partner – but, fewer than 2 in 10 report it. Those that do, only do so when it reaches the stage that they need urgent medical attention. Sexual harassment in public places is widely acknowledged to be an issue. The dangers of posting personal photos and meeting people online are well reported, especially for teenage girls.

Unfortunately, none of the students reported having any prior training in their rights or how the law relates to their lives.

What’s more, given how many of these girls will move from their village to the city of Bangkok upon leaving school, in order to find better paid employment, they need to be aware that Bangkok presents a whole new web of possible dangers. Without savings, these girls will take the first job they can find in the city, which will often be in a domestic home (as a maid, nanny or domestic helper) or in a bar or entertainment venue in one of the city’s nightlife hotspots. These jobs inevitably present more risks from both their employer and their customers than working in an office or a shop.

After our focus group, we revised and improved our training workshop – ‘Claim your Rights’ – for delivery in high schools across Ubon Ratchathani and the Bangkok Metropolitan region. The workshop covers:

  • Awareness of and Prevention of Danger: Aiming to raise awareness of a range of risks (including relationships, harassment, financial dependency, pregnancy and online interaction), tactics for avoiding the dangers and ways to deal with any incidents.
  • Basic Self-Defense: Training in basic moves, such as wrist grabs, lapel grabs, and protection on the ground.
  • Women’s Law and Rights: Covers areas of the law relevant to women, such as reporting domestic violence or assault to the police, and provides the resources they need if they are unsure.

Since our last report to you, we are delighted to tell you that we have trained 679 teenage girls in this new program.

If you would like to keep up to date more regularly with our training, please ‘like’ us on Facebook for regular photos and videos – like this one of our director, Sarochinee (nickname of 'Beer'), teaching self-defense moves in a local school. Or if you have any questions, get in touch with us at staff@goodwillbangkok.org.

Thank you for being a part of our work!

From the Team at Goodwill. 

Presenting their Ideas
Presenting their Ideas
Focus Group Discussion
Focus Group Discussion
Presentation from the Headmaster at one school
Presentation from the Headmaster at one school
Watching a Demonstration
Watching a Demonstration

Links:

Dec 21, 2015

Campaigning and Training Young Women in Thailand

Campaign Award Received by Nang
Campaign Award Received by Nang

Dear Friends,

Thanks to you, we continue our vital work in Ubon Ratchathani, reaching high school girls in rural areas across the province. We train these girls in two vital topics, often not included in routine education by village schools:

  1. Career Planning

Our “Preparing for Success” workshop gives girls the guidance they need on planning for a successful future – covering vocational training opportunities, further education and employment options. We often find that, before the workshop, many of these girls only know a few careers – nurse, teacher, doctor – and they do not know about the training or experience required to secure these positions. Our workshops help to broaden their horizons and to ensure they know how to build a realistic path towards their end career goal.

  1. Protecting Yourself

Our “Prevention of Danger” workshop meets an important need for rural girls – learning how to move safely from agricultural life to the big city. This information is desperately required in the Northeast, where the rates of internal migration are the highest in the country among young women. Our workshop ensures that they plan and save sufficiently for their arrival in Bangkok, that they realise the importance of sorting their employment and accommodation as much as they can, and that they are prepared for some of the potentially harmful situations they may encounter in the city.

We have also recently launched a new project, spanning Ubon and Bangkok, funded by the Embassy of Canada to Thailand. This project, called “Claim your Rights”, will design, deliver and evaluate a replicable training toolkit to help women and girls in both regions to protect themselves from violence, exploitation, and forced marriage resulting from pregnancy. Read more here: http://www.goodwillthailand.org/canadafund2015

Alongside these workshops, we have also been reaching out to new schools and communities, building relationships to help deliver our services even further across the province and surrounding areas. As part of this, we have been involved in local government initiatives, such as the “Stop Violence Against Girls, Women, and Inside the Family” campaign in early December, hosted by Ministry of Social Development and Human Security in Ubon. The event included over 35 organizations (including government offices, businesses and other NGOs) and more than 500 people participated. Our staff in Ubon, Nang and Miaw, and four volunteers represented the organization. During the event many people showed interested in our work, helping to raise awareness of our services. Nang was also delighted to receive a certificate from the provincial governor in recognition of our participation in the campaign.

Students in Bangkok have been cooking up a storm in our holiday project – sharing their favourite recipes and talking about their lives. Please take a look at the microsite and watch the first video (https://goodwillgroupfoundation.wordpress.com/) to learn more. Four more videos will be released between now and the New Year.

Thank you so much for all your support of the Goodwill Group Foundation.

Wishing you happy and healthy holidays from all of us here in Thailand.

Stop Violence Campaign Day
Stop Violence Campaign Day
Stop Violence Campaign Day
Stop Violence Campaign Day
Ubon High School
Ubon High School
Cooking in Bangkok (by Aytac Turkay)
Cooking in Bangkok (by Aytac Turkay)

Links:

Aug 24, 2015

Preparing for a safe and successful future - the past three months at Goodwill

Self-defense at Pomprajullajomklao School
Self-defense at Pomprajullajomklao School

Goodwill runs programs in Bangkok and the Ubon Ratchathani province. Through our Preparing for Success program, disadvantaged women and girls learn the skills they need to build a safe and successful future:

  • Women learn about writing their resume, negotiating their salary and presenting themselves at a job interview.
  • Girls learn about the different career options available and the decisions they need to make about training and education after high school, in order to follow their chosen path.

Combined with a selection of vocational training courses, we help our students understand that anything is possible, if they set their mind to it. Life does not need to be limited to the choice between agricultural work in rural Thailand or low-level factory and service work, or worse, in Bangkok.

Since June, our Ubon office has trained over 1,600 participants through our Preparing for Success program and in Prevention of Danger and Self-Defense. We successfully reached new communities, thanks to our field staff in Ubon, who tirelessly work to forge new connections across this large and rural area – one of the poorest in Thailand. As a result, for the first time, we offered training at Sisaket Business Administration College and in the community of Phonpang. We will continue to expand our reach and work with communities to ensure that our training meets their needs.

In Bangkok, we offered training in our offices in Self-Defense and Self-Presentation in the Workplace. We also continued to take our programs out to communities and secondary schools around the Bangkok Metropolitan area. Around 350 attendees were trained through outreach activities in First Aid and CPR – a vital skill for many of our students in their jobs, Self-Defense, Prevention of Danger and Preparing for Success.

Please watch our short video using the link below. If you like what we are doing, feel free to share with your friends!

We will continue to keep you updated. If you have any comments, questions, or would like to become more involved in our work – we would love to hear from you.

Your support keeps us going. Thank you for being a part of our team!

Learning CPR at Bangkoknoi Non-Formal School
Learning CPR at Bangkoknoi Non-Formal School
Preparing for Success at a college in Ubon
Preparing for Success at a college in Ubon
Learning Self-Defense together
Learning Self-Defense together
Thank you from Ubon!
Thank you from Ubon!

Links:

 
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