Issarachon Foundation, a non-profit organization in Thailand, has been active in organizing activities related to HIV/AIDs since 1996. Originating as a voluntary group namely “Issarachon Group”, it later evolved to “Issarachon Activities Center” in 2000, “Issarachon Association of Innovative Activities” in 2005, and recently “Issarachon Foundation” in 2011.
During the past 15 years, the organization has contributed to campaigns on prevention of HIV/AIDs in crowded communities both in Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city, and Bangkok outskirts; target groups have included beneficiaries who are basically difficult to reach such as youth in observation centers, youth in orphanages, vagabonds, homeless people, street/ park sex workers as well as newly released people from correction centers who live in public sites of cities. Additionally, activities have incorporated outreaches to campaign on prevention of HIV/AIDs in various regions i.e. Roi-Et, Udon Thani (northeast), Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nan (north), Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkram (Bangkok outskirts), etc.
During 1996 – 2002, main activities were focused on campaigns on the prevention of HIV/AIDs within communities having inflicted patients and knowledge on how to take care of patients living in crowded communities in Bangkok.
During 2002 – present, emphasis has been shifted to target groups which appear to be difficult to reach in public areas; main campaigns have been placed on their self protection together with awareness building on responsibilities for themselves and toward the whole society.
Efforts in Making Acquaintance with Street Sex Workers
Firstly, the Foundation staff built up acquaintance, then evolved to trust among street sex workers, staff introduced themselves and their purposes, then gave out condoms; target groups would check whether condoms were for free, what days staff would visit them, etc. Later on target groups became acquainted and trust enough to seek advocacy on their health or other issues.
Participation of Street Sex Workers and Other Volunteers
The Foundation has placed emphasis on empowering individuals of target groups to be able to take care of themselves while eager to help each other since one day the Foundation may have to discontinue such assistance/ visit.
- 1. Networking
Issarachon Foundation has naturally fostered networking among beneficiaries at each site (local level), then linking the networking of the local level to the community, regional, and national levels. Activities have included seminars on corresponding issues; sometimes public media has been utilized for fostering and maintaining the networking.
- 2. Aids Education Mobile Service (AEMS)
AEMS has been carried out concurrently with the Foundation’s main activity which focuses on wanderers and homeless who live in public areas in big cities throughout the country. Campaign content incorporates prevention of HIV/AIDs, beneficiary’s rights under the Constitution to get access of public services, and channels to acquire clinical services from both public and private agencies.
Originally, every evening the Foundation staff used to walk through target areas (Sanam Luang and Klong Lord) with backpacks full of condoms and other teaching aides to make their mission become materialized. In 2007, a philanthropist donated a vehicle for their routine work; this has facilitated more frequency of visits at target sites both in Bangkok and other provinces (2 visits per week at each site). Each AEMS visit comprises provision of advice and knowledge on HIV/AIDs, self protection as well as other issues; visit hours extend from 15:00 to 23:00 hrs.
AEMS enables the Foundation staff to reach and provide services to more needy individuals at more frequency of time due to less limited constraints on distance and timing. As a complete unit, AEMS serves as a mobile library, theatre, and a collection of campaign supplies i.e. mascots, games, etc.
- 99.98% of street sex workers at Sanam Luang, Klong Lord and adjacent sites are confident to disclose themselves to get access to services of the Foundation.
- Percentage of HIV/AIDs infection previously stood at 30% has declined to 15% owing to awareness on self protection and knowledge on how to use condoms.
• Contact information for two references who are well informed about the activities of the group or organization and who may be contacted by the selection committee.
- Mrs.Juntavipa Apisuk President of Empower Foundation
- Dr.Sopon Pornchokchai President of Thai Appraisal Foundation Tel 6689-922-9899
• Nominator : Natee Saravari
For the four people above, please supply the following information:
Name : Mrs.Wilaipan Luangya Position : Vice President Organization : ISSARACHON FOUNDATION
Street Address : 72 Watsukjai 12 Saikhongdi Khongsamwa City/Town : Bangkok Postal Code : 10510
Province or state : Bangkok Country : Thailand Telephone : 6681-684-4645
Fax : 001-662-943-0690 Email : Expo2513@hotmail.com
Website (if available) : www.issarachon-homeless.blogspot.com