When asked to identify my favorite GO Campaign project, my answer is always the birth certificate program in Thailand. This simple piece of paper is giving children an identity, a nationality, and a future. It is truly a remarkable project, and I am so proud that GO Campaign plays a part in it.
Organization: Committee for the Protection and Promotion of Child Rights (CPPCR)
Location: Mae Sot, Thailand
Context: There are approximately 50,000 school age children, many of whom are undocumented, living in the refugee camps in and around Mae Sot. Undocumented children lack access to education, proper housing, and medical care and they are at greater risk for trafficking, child marriage, and child labor.
Background: GO’s Local Hero Dr. Cynthia Maung, a Burmese refugee herself, established a world-renowned clinic near the Thai-Burma border for other refugees to receive proper medical care; she also founded CPPCR to address the needs of vulnerable children residing in Mae Sot. Today, Cynthia’s clinic treats more than 75,000 patients annually and CPPCR has issued birth certificates to over 26,000 children and helped rescue thousands of others from abuse. In recognition of her incredible work, Cynthia was awarded the 2013 Sydney Peace Prize.
Current Status: In December 2015, GO Campaign approved a grant for $21,173 to CPPCR to expand their services to child victims and children at risk of physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and exploitation. With GO’s support, CPPCR was able to target 20 communities for assistance and birth certificates, as well as raise awareness regarding child rights and protection.
Meet Ma Nee
Ma Nee is an undocumented 13 year old girl living in Pho Pra, about 24 miles away from Mae Sot. She was recently involved in a motorbike accident and required medical care and physical therapy. Though Thailand has a universal health care system, Ma Nee is stateless and therefore could not access it. With CPPCR’s help, Ma Nee obtained a birth certificate and is now receiving proper medical attention Ma Nee’s father said, “My ignorance to my daughter [caused] her many difficulties. As a stateless child [she was] not eligible to claim her rights like others.”