Social workers, media team up on youth homelessness

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Social workers and the Thai PBS television channel have teamed up in hopes of building a network to help homeless children attain equality and opportunity in Thailand.

Supachai Sathirasilapin, director of the Father Ray Children’s Home, welcomed Sen. Tungananurak Wallop Tankhananurak, head of the Committee on Children, Women and the Elderly, and creative director for the Foundation for Children, to the Pattaya Redemptorist Center for the start of a three-day training session early last month.

Social workers and Thai PBS have teamed up to train people to help homeless children. Social workers and Thai PBS have teamed up to train people to help homeless children.

The seminar was designed for teachers, tutors and social workers who deal with homeless kids to improve their quality of life, bring them back into mainstream society and communicate through the media to parents and others about the problem related to runaways, street kids and homelessness among youths.

TV personality Thongpool “Khru Jew” Buasree led a discussion on how to use conventional and social media to discuss the conditions and successes of working with homeless children and how the public can get involved with such kids and prevent others from getting into trouble.

The few social workers and teachers devoted to working with homeless children are insufficient for the problem, particularly in tourist areas like Pattaya, workshop organizers said. Much of the homeless problem is driven by materialism and greed, they said, with some kids on the street out of choice to earn money for consumer products. Gone are the days of scruffy urchins. Instead, organizers said, many homeless youths are dressed up in designer styles.

Such images have made it necessary to alert the public to what’s happening with Thailand’s youths, organizers said. Hence Thai PBS joined social workers to help them broadcast the perils of materialism and problems of illiteracy and poor health that come with homelessness. Attendees were shown how websites such as Facebook and YouTube can be used in addition to broadcast television.