Amy Morasch's PledgePage
Welcome to my pledgepage and thank you for your interest in my work with the hill tribes of northern Thailand.
I will be traveling to Thailand for 2 weeks in February to work as a volunteer for Dr David Mar Naw and the NGO Where There Is No Doctor. ‘Where there is no doctor’ is a non-profit organization helping the poor, underprivileged and marginalized hill-tribe communities of Northern Thailand.
Working primarily in two sub-districts of Chiang Ria, the organization moves from village to village giving free medical treatment and advice, helping to bring a better quality of life and improved health to the communities where there is no doctor.
The mission of the organization is to advance the understanding of and improve the health, development, and quality of life both for children and adults in high-risk situation: HIV, AIDS, Drug abuse, Acute and Chronic illness.
I will be updating this page during and after my mission with photos and stories. If you are interested, please check back after February 20, 05. If you feel so inclined to donate to the organization, your money will be used for the salary of a local trained nurse, medical supplies, sanitation supplies, and school buildings.
Thank you kindly!
The Hill-Tribes of Thailand
The hill tribe peoples of Thailand are primarily Burmese migrants who inhabit the remote hilly forests of the Thai-Burma-Laos triangle border. Composed of 6 different ethnic groups each with its own language and culture and recognisable by its colourful traditional dress. The Akha, Karen, Lahu, Lisu, Mien and Mon peoples are hard-working and sincere people and believe in the fruits of honesty and a teachable mind.
Even so, the plight of these people is manifold and worsening. Originally, the hill-tribe communities survived through the production of opium and then logging, both of which were understandably halted by the Thai government along with their traditional slash and burn farming techniques. Many have been left with no trade options and infertile land on which to grow substandard crops. Their staple food is rice, roots, yams and a few vegetables but many are having to survive on a diet of rice and chilli leading to serious cases of disease and malnutrition.
The problem is compounded as more than 60% of the hill-tribe population are living without Thai citizenship even though they have been living in the country for over 50 years. The Thai government is concerned that giving the hill-tribe people National ID cards and, thereby, increased mobility, would encourage a surge in drug smuggling as they live close to the Burmese Golden triangle responsible for 70% of drugs in the world market.
In addition, relations between Burma and Thailand have always been strained, Wars over rule and land have led to a dislike and distrust of the Burmese people. As such, the hill-tribe peoples are looked down upon and marginalised by the Thai community and hill-tribe life has become very tough and challenging as a result.
Health is a big issue due to their worsening situation, the problems of insufficient food supplies and the stress and strains of survival. This is compounded by low sanitation, lack of health education and a poor water supply. The old industry of growing poppies and the problems of drug smuggling in the area mean that drug addition, HIV and AIDS are also some of the problems facing these communities. Tobacco related illnesses are also prevalent with 80% of older men smoking country tobacco and 60% of older women chewing it.
For many there is no doctor or health worker and, moreover, as 60% are without National ID they are unable to visit hospitals, clinics and health care centres in Thai society. Those that do have ID do not have the money to get the best medical support and are often given medicines which are little more than placebos having no curative character for underlying diseases; Paracetamol, Vitamin C and symptomatic relief medications.