From Vuthaya Charoenpol (Ann), the Friends Thailand Peuan Peuan Country Program Director comes this story of just one of the many ‘Bangkok Boys’, and how our program works to help them…
“Last August, staff from a local UN agency informed us about a 12 year old boy found sleeping on Victory Monument Bridge, one of the busiest commuter spots in central Bangkok. The Peuan Peuan team went out on a spot check and found the boy, and recognized him as someone that the team had contacted earlier during a snap shot survey conducted of street youth. The Khmer speaking hotline officer handed out a Peuan Peuan hotline card and had a chat with him about the risks on the street and how to be safe on street. We also offered him to use the safety of our emergency center for a short stay but this time our young wanderer chose not to.
The next day, The Hub, our CYTI partner, called and informed that their outreach staff had found a Cambodian boy in Huamlampong and brought him back to their drop in center. Our social worker spoke to the boy on the phone and discovered it was the same boy.
Our Outreach Team leader at the time, Noi, contacted Vuthy, our Peuan Peuan Aranyaprathet (Aran) Manager, to request family assessment and possible family reintegration. After exchanging information on the boy through the ‘Case Management’ system (a very effective tool for social workers to support individual beneficiaries based on their needs), we found that the boy had been met by The Peuan Peuan Aran Outreach Team…this is how the Peuan Peuan Aran and Peuan Peuan Bangkok teams cover migration routes and possible locations to ensure protection and hopefully some space and time to offer possible and long term reintegration…
The boy had been accompanying his parents to Bangkok since he was 6 years old. They later separated, and since then he had been travelling back and forth between his hometown in Battambang and Thailand. He is a very smart young man, literate in both Thai and Khmer and able to hold his own with vendors and street locals. He is a skilled street survivor, knows all the street signs, and has a very good memory of places and whereabouts in Bangkok. He once caught a tuk tuk to the Peuan Peuan Emergency Center by himself!
In September 2013, the first attempt at family reintegration took place, but it wasn’t successful and he returned to central Bangkok and was later rescued and placed in the Reception Home for Boys. The Puean Peuan Reintegration team work there and had the chance to meet with and continue to support the boy, until he was repatriated officially in August 2014. It has taken just over a year to see his family reintegration coming to pass.
Now he is staying and learning at Goutte D’Eau Center…hopefully he will go far with all the ideas and intelligence that he possesses….there are many other boys like him…we still need to work with the many others to help build (successful) futures for them also!”