Dwight Turner, a long time buddy of mine and fellow Bangkok resident, started an organization a number of years ago known as In Search of Sanuk.
One of his projects includes helping (in any way possible) a number of refugee families living in Bangkok.
Refugees in Bangkok are not welcome…
…in fact, they live in fear of being arrested.
Here’s a quick video about In Search of Sanuk’s project with refugees in Bangkok. I would be grateful if you had a moment to check this out!
Thailand doesn’t officially recognize refugees, so therefore the many refugees that have ended up in Bangkok (from Myanmar, Vietnam, China, Sri Lanka, Congo, Somalia, Sudan) don’t actually have any legit papers.
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They live in small poor condition apartments along with their families and they fear ever leaving their apartment.
A few of the families are from Sri Lanka.
After just spending a few weeks traveling through Sri Lanka, I have a bit more knowledge as to just how different Thailand is from their home country.
Sure, Sri Lanka isn’t located too far away looking at the map, but their culture and former lifestyles were extremely different.
I can only imagine fleeing to Thailand without previous notice, having to immediately start a new life in a foreign country with nothing…and not even being able to leave the tiny one bedroom apartment.
Along with Dwight, I have visited the refugee families from Sri Lanka a number of times.
They are always excited to see us, ready to talk about anything and always willing to share their small supply of food.
Their hospitality compared with how little they possess is humbling.
Anyways, as we all go about our busy day to day lives this holiday season, it’s important to remember those who are a lot less fortunate than us.
I myself nearly always take next month’s rent or even tomorrow’s dinner for granted.
But for these refugee families cooped up in their single room apartments, they don’t even know where their next month’s rent will come from, what they will eat next week, or even if they will get arrested without warning.
The Shocking Truth
The truth of the matter is that refugees in Bangkok are not recognized by the government but are rather considered illegal immigrants.
This means they don’t have the protection that international laws normally provide, putting their security in jeopardy.
They can be arrested at anytime and don’t have any way to support themselves financially (and they don’t have anywhere else safe they can go).
How to Help
If you are interested in learning more or would like to help by donating to refugees in Bangkok, please click here.
Also, if you have a moment we would really appreciate it if you would share this video and post to spread the message (Click the Facebook or Twitter button over on the left!).
Thank you very much and Merry Christmas!
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