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Support 100 Thai prisoners and families with HIV

by Siam-Care Foundation
Support 100 Thai prisoners and families with HIV
Support 100 Thai prisoners and families with HIV
Support 100 Thai prisoners and families with HIV
Support 100 Thai prisoners and families with HIV
Support 100 Thai prisoners and families with HIV
Support 100 Thai prisoners and families with HIV
Support 100 Thai prisoners and families with HIV
Support 100 Thai prisoners and families with HIV

Satang (2012) is a 7 year old boy who lives with his mother Pla (1997) and sister Stamp (march 2014) in Bangkok, Thailand. Father Todsaphon (1996) was caught selling drugs and is now in prison. As this family has lost their breadwinner, Siam-Care looks after them.

The family is very poor and struggles hard to make ends meet. People from poor backgrounds are often being approached by drugsdealers, who need someone to deliver the drugs for them. Satang's father fell for this, as he was in serious need of money. Unfortunately, he was caught by the police. Siam-Care's prison project is more than just training for inmates. We also look after families who have lost their breadwinner.

Mother is former sponsor child
Mother Pla is unemployed because she has to take care of her children. Father Todsaphon use to have different jobs and accepted all the work that he ccould possibly find: repairing cars, cleaning, etc. He made around 4000 Thai Baht a month, which was absolutely not enough to survive on. Siam-Care knows this family because mother Pla used to receive an educational sponsorship because her parents were HIV-infected. With our support she was able to study, but ended up being pregnant at the age of 15. 

Room without a door
Satang and his mother and sister live in with father’s family. They live in a tiny room without a door; they have to enter the house through the window. Satang’s grandfather Pramoth is a monk and sometimes shares some of the food that other people give him because he is a monk. Unfortunately he drinks a lot as well and oftren lays on the floor, being very drunk.

Happy boy
Despite his dire situation, Satang is a happy and jovial boy. At the moment he studies in the first grade of kindergarten and after the summer holiday, he will start in the second grade. Because of his age it is hard to tell if he is a smart boy, but he likes to go to school and seems to be doing well.

 

 

 

 

As you perhaps know, Siam-Care works with HIV-infected inmates. Many of them either get infected in prison, or only discover in prison that they are infected. Should all inmates perhaps be tested on arrival in prison? A Dutch student does her graduation thesis on this subject.

Some people argue that all inmates should be tested when they arrive in prison. Other's want prisoners to decide for themselves. Currently the policy in most Thai prisons is that inmates only get tested when they feel sick and/or show symptons of HIV. Siam-Care would like for all prisoners to at least have the opportunity to get tested, so that appropriate treatment can be provided as early as possible in the sickness-process. 

A dutch student from the Netherlands will do her thesis on this subject. From February until August this year, she will do interviews with prison staff, with inmates, and with Siam-Care staff. Her main goal is to bring all views together and come up with a suitable advice for Thai prisons. The student will also make a comparison of Thai prisons and prisons in the Netherlands, to see if they can learn from each other.

Wong (not real name) is a 18 year-old boy, who will spend the next 10 years in prison and is HIV-infected. A while ago, he felt so depressed that he tried to kill himself. Thankfully, Siam-Care was able to help him.

Wong comes from Nakhom Phanom, a province near Bangkok, where he grew up together with his mother and 2 younger sisters. His father left the house just after his youngest sister was born. He started a new family and hasn't been in touch with Wong or his family for more than 10 years already. Wong's mother makes some money by growing vegetables and selling these at the local market. The family struggled hard to make ends meet and forces by the family's dire financial situation, Wong started selling drugs when he was only 14 years old.

Arrested and sentenced
During his first month as a drug runner, Wong made more than his mother makes in a whole year. He enjoyed his life, had many friends and did not worry about a single thing. Until he was arrested a couple weeks later. One of his clients set him up and called the police. Wong was arrested and sentenced to 12 years in prison. In prison, he underwent a medical test and discovered that he was HIV-infected.

End his life
Wong's world collapsed. He felt depressed after hearing about his condition that he tried to kill himself. Thankfully, the prison staff was able to save Wong and they contacted Siam-Care, as we work with HIV-infected prisoners. Our staff made an emergency visit to prison, as no regular visits were scheduled for that week. We talked with Wong and gave him an idea of was his future could look like. He felt relieved hearing that HIV-infected people can live a pretty normal life, as long as they take their ARV-medication. 

Started fighting again
This all happened a couple months ago and Wong is still in prison. There isn't much we can do for him. Just by informing him about his infection and offering him a shoulder to cry on, we gave him some hope. He still doesn't feel too happy as he will be in prison for many more years, but at least he is not fighting again. 

In our last report, we shared about many new requests we receive from prisons in and near Bangkok. We now train inmates in 7 prisons and are desperately looking for budget for new staff. Adding one staff would help us to continue training over 100 inmates each week.

The new invitations to come and train inmates in new prisons, are a confirmation that our project is going well. It is great that our skills are acknowledges by the prison management. Yet: it also causes a problem. It is hard to find enough funds for our prison project. Somehow raising funds for our educational projects is not too challenging, but finding resources for our prison projects is rather hard.

What do we do?
What do we do again? Basically, we visit the unloved and the unwanted: the inmates of several prisons. Many of them never get visited; even their family doesn't always contact them. We counsel the prisoners, talk about their future and train them in their medicational use. For the healthy prisoners, we do train them in the area of safe sex. We also share knowledge about HIV so that the stigma towards infected people decreases.

Shoulder to cry on
As of 2018, we give trainings and do counseling in 7 prisons. Which means that hundreds of inmates undergo training by Siam-Care. Next to training, we play games with them in an attempt to distract them from their dire situation. Life in prison isn't easy and all inmates are longing for a bit of distraction. We also offer a shoulder to cry on and listen to the stories of the prisoners. It is amazing and very encouraging to see what a little bit of love and attention can do for the inmates.

Help us spread the love
Like we also shared last time, we would love to add another member to our team, as training this many inmates is challenging for our small Bangkok team. We need around 300 USD per month, which for example would mean 12 people giving 25 dollars per month. Will you help us continue our program in prison? Please allow us to reach out to over a 1000 inmates per year. A recurring would be amazing, but of course one-off donations are very much appreciated as well!

We usually try to share a personal story of one of the prisoners we work with. Not this time, we now have some good news to share: our prison program is growing so rapidly that we need to hire more staff! 

Only 4 years ago, when we registred this project on Globalgiving.com, our prison program consisted of 1 prison; The hospital section of KlongPrem prison, in Bangkok. We worked with HIV-infected prisoners and trained them in their medication usage. 2 years ago, another prison was added to our program: the woman's correctional institution in Pathum Thani. In that year, we worked with around 60 inmates on a monthly basis.

Succesfull trainings
Last year, one youth prison invited us to come and teach the juvenile inmates about the risks of (unsafe) sex. We accepted this invitation, because many of these youngsters don't get any visitors. We believe that, eventhough they messed up some things in life, they deserve to receive love and attention. The training sessions in this 'new' prison, were succesful and soon, other youth prisons started to invite Siam-Care as well to work with their inmates.

From 1 to 7 prisons
Now, 2018, we give trainings and do counseling in 7 prisons. Which means that hunderds of inmates undergo training by Siam-Care. Next to training, we play games with them in an attempt to distract them from their dire situation. Life in prison isn't easy and all inmates are longing for a bit of distraction. We also offer a shoulder to cry on and listen to the stories of the prisoners. It is amazing and very encouraging to see what a little bit of love and attention can do for the inmates.

Add one staff to our team
Thanks to people like you, we can reach out to all these prisoners. Because we now visit this many prisons, we would love to add another staff to our team. We don't have the budget yet, we need to raise about 500 USD per month. If you know or are the person who would like to invest in these forgotten people in prison: please contact us. Thank you for being a blessing to people in need!

 

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Organization Information

Siam-Care Foundation

Location: Bangkok - Thailand
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Jan-Peter Kelder
Manager of Communications
Bangkok, Thailand

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