We are working towards building a society in which all people, especially children, youth, women and vulnerable people, have human rights and access to resources leading to quality lives.
Borderless Friendship Foundation exists to ensure that the hill tribe children in our care, mostly of whom are stateless, have a safe place to live, with food and clothing, and access to health care and education. We do this through supporting 7 hostels that house approximately 400 hill tribe children in total. Some do have parents who may be too poor to look after their children, or they may live too far away to access school. Most do not have parents – they may have died from AIDS or because of no access to health. Education is critical to the survival of these children. Without it they are at risk of living a life of poverty and sex trafficking.
Borderless Friendship WA is the advocacy and fundraising arm of what we do. We can only exist alongside each other.
Hill tribe children
The hill tribe people live in remote areas scattered across Northern Thailand with little or no access to education. Many fled from conflict in Myanmar or other surrounding countries. This lack of education makes the hill tribe children prone to poverty and vulnerable to exploitation within Thailand's ubiquitous sex and drug trade.
Those who can get an education grow up able to take much better care of themselves, their families and their community.
BFF is working with 350-400 rural communities that cross to Sub Mekong region countries. Hill tribe communities we work with include Lahu, Akha, and Karen.
Hill tribe children face numerous issues:
They are often stateless. No birth certificate or ID means the Thai government won’t easily grant citizenship.
Sex trafficking of young females
Orphans due to parents dying young, often from AIDS
Lack of education because of the reasons above means that it is very hard for young people to get the start needed to break the cycle.
Attending school provides them with the opportunity to move from being stateless to having an official identity in Thailand. This will then enable the young people to gain an education and to have the chance to gain legitimate, fulfilling job opportunities rather than a horrific life in the drug trade or sex industry. UNICEF estimates that the number of children under the age of 16 working in the sex industry in Thailand is in excess of 50,000, and many of those are hill-tribe children. Because most hill tribe people do not have ID, children can ‘disappear’ – this is a complex issue with multi-faceted solutions.
BFWA is involved with community health, education, sexuality and relationship education.