ADRA Reaches More at Community Event
Last week, the Community Sensitisation Project attended a community outreach event to spread ADRAs reach in areas with high amounts of statelessness.
The event was held at a local school about 2.5 hours north-west of Mae Chan (near the Thai-Myanmar Border in Northern Thailand), and began at around 9am. It was a half-day event that showcased a variety of organisations who worked in fields of agriculture, education, health; and some provided donated items (e.g books, bedding). Students from the local University and Vocational Training Colleges offered services such as health clinics and hairdressing at free or discounted rates. The health clinics aimed at educating school students. The Thai Government also made an appearance through district officials and the fire department.
ADRAs Stateless Reduction & Community Sensitisation Project (CSP) is part of UNHCRs Global Action Plan to end statelessness. Thailand has an estimated 443,862 stateless individuals; a high prevalence compared to most countries. The project provides consultation and legal advice for nationality application to these communities.
The day was quite a success for ADRA, with staff constantly advising locals and gathering information for the duration of the event. The Program Manager conducted several case studies for more complicated issues; offering legal advice and support aided by his law background. Many held no documentation whatsoever, but ADRA was able to fill general forms and collect fingerprints. The few who had documentation (e.g birth certificate) were able to get more processed on the day.
Many whole families showed up who were stateless, hoping ADRA can provide the solution. The closest service point for ADRA from the school is 1.5 hours away which makes it difficult for some to access. The collective event proved most beneficial to communities in the surrounding areas. Families have gained better understanding in this issue and their personal situations as a result. It is the hope of ADRA that these events will continue to reach geographically challenged communities and provide exposure to organisations that can foster change.