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The Most Disadvantaged People in Thai Society

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The Most Disadvantaged People in Thai Society

"I have been reading about our rights and helping families fill the papers, but it is not easy," he says. "If I don't do this no one will. I want to fight for my village, for us to be Thais.'

- Ayo (A member of the Akha hill tribe)

Ignored by the government and isolated from the population, the most disadvantaged group of people in Thai society are the hill tribes in my opinion. These people are ethnic minority groups, living in the mountains, having their own language, culture and traditional way of life. The population of the hill tribe people in Thailand is estimated at 1.2 million people. Although there is a large amount of people, they are still ignored by the government because they are "unregistered citizens" even though a large majority of them were born in Thailand. Due to this, the government provides them little or no support even though they are struggling to escape poverty. Their location makes it hard for these people to access health care and other basic needs. The only help they ever receive is from non-government organizations and volunteers. They also live by the fear of being arrested by the police due to their unregistered status. The children are not provided any educational support by the government. With most Thai schools denying these children, it is even more difficult for them to learn. They are forced to work to help their families survive, working in unsuitable conditions due to their lack of education. Statistics show that 1 in 3 sex workers in Chiang Mai comes from a hill tribe. The truly miserable point is that the government views these people as profit (The Tourism Authority of Thailand announced that the hill tribes are important for tourism). They see these people as means to make money but never really as human beings who are suffering and struggling to survive.



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