Along the Thai/Myanmar border district of Sangkhlaburi, Thailand, our partner One Sky provides family support, including kinship care and advocates for care reform.
Through our partnership, we provide technical support and funding to support kinship care families at risk of being separated due to poverty, resulting in children ending up in orphanages.
To mark #KinshipCareWeek2022, the One Sky team shared this story about a kinship case they are closely supporting.
After experiencing the loss of her first husband, a mother with three young children remarried only to discover her new partner had no interest in caring for or supporting her children. Unsure of what to do, she approached close neighbours about caring for her children. Luckily, with some financial support from her, the neighbours agreed. Sadly, she also passed shortly after, but the neighbours decided to continue caring for the three children in addition to their two biological children.
While children’s homes, including orphanages, are typical in the area, the carers did not pursue this option as they were determined to provide a good life for the children. However, they struggled to find food and keep the children in school. As with many migrant children, the siblings, ages 13, 15, and 17, started attending school late and are all currently in grade 7 (first year of secondary). The eldest girl was forced to drop out of school to help at home and find an income.
One Sky immediately started providing financial assistance of 1,000 Baht (£24) per month for each of the three children in kinship care. The eldest girl, keen to return to school, is now attending Kossonor classes (Thai informal education system) once a week and has a chance to continue studying for her high school certificate.
Additionally, One Sky has supported the family in beginning an income-generating project to provide a sustainable income stream so they can care and provide for the children in their care. They have opened a roadside fruit and noodle shop, which the eldest girl works in while she’s not attending school.
Andy Lillicrap, One Sky’s cofounder, says,
“I am pleased that the team is looking at income generation opportunities with kinship families. Over time, it will reduce or even cease the monthly financial support we provide once these families can increase their income. We know that not all income-generation ventures will succeed, but when we consider the huge cost of keeping children in children’s homes long-term, the risk of some of these family-based investments not working out doesn’t seem so bad. Had these three children moved into a local children’s home, the cost per month for each child would be at least 4,000 Baht (£96). Family-based care, including kinship care, is not only safer and healthier for children, but it’s enormously cheaper.”
In addition to generating an income, this family’s noodle shop is now one of the village-level restaurants signed up to One Sky’s child protection network. They display posters and information about child protection and how to report cases, empowering the community to advocate on behalf of children.
To learn more about One Sky, visit https://martinjames.foundation/partner-one-sky-foundation/