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Volunteering to protect children in Thailand
13 February 2009

Mae La camp, Tak Province, Thailand: Volunteers from a number of organizations teamed together to help vulnerable children in Thailand.

The Child Protection campaign was conducted by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) field office at Mae Sot in cooperation with the NGOs Right to Play, SVA, TOPS, COERR and Handicap International.

The campaign covered all three zones of the camp to ensure the participation of as many children as possible. Handicap International assisted in the involvement of children with disabilities into the campaign.

During the campaign five child protection cartoon posters, developed by Mae Sot Field Office, were introduced. The cartoon posters aim to serve as a preventive tool against child abuse and to raise awareness about the Child Protection Referral System (CPRS) established in the camps.

The child protection posters address the issues of sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect and exploitation (trafficking, street children) indicating COERR and UNHCR as the organizations to approach for assistance.   

Each cartoon poster was presented through a story telling or a puppet show performed by SVA/TOPS and interactive games managed by Right to Play in cooperation with UNHCR and COERR. A subsequent short discussion of a poster was conducted with the children to highlight the cartoon issue and the organizations to approach.

COERR Community Social Workers (CSW) and Child Protection Advocates (CPA) were involved into the games to let the children learn COERR staff from their zone of residence.   

About a hundred volunteers from the above-mentioned NGOs and community-based organizations helped to conduct the campaign for approximately 1,500 children. Eight out of hundred volunteers represented UNHCR FO Mae Sot.

International UNV volunteers with UNHCR had an opportunity to address the importance of voluntarism in local communities and to dedicate the Volunteers’ Day to all those who participated.

The child protection campaigns for Umpium and Nupo camps were planned to be conducted in January and February 2009 with the support of local volunteers.