A huge city with many children living and working in the streets

SOS family having dinner (photo: N. Somchat).
Bangkok is the largest city of Thailand. It is the nation's capital and main port. The problems it faces are typical of big cities: pollution, housing shortages and streets congested with traffic. Many children from poor families, often with a migration background, live and work in the streets of this city. These children come to Bangkok from the rural parts of Thailand or from neighbouring countries such as Cambodia in search of a better life – many of them without their families.

Children living in the streets or in one of the around 1,000 slum areas of Bangkok have to work to make a living or to help raise the family income. They beg or peddle small items in the streets. They work until late at night, and they frequently miss school because work takes precedence over their education. Many of them are not properly registered, so they are not entitled to health care or an education at all. Their situation makes them vulnerable to commercial and sexual exploitation, violence and abuse.

The country's first SOS Children's Village

After a visit to Austria, during which she learned about the organisation's work, Queen Sirikit decided to invite SOS Children's Villages into her country to help orphaned and abandoned children there. The fact that the city of Bangkok has the largest number of vulnerable children predisposed it to becoming home to the country's first SOS Children's Village. The first president of SOS Children's Villages Thailand donated the piece of land where the programme was set up. It is located in Bangpoo, one of the suburbs of Bangkok.

What we do in Bangpoo