Chiang Rai is situated in the North of Thailand, in a piece of land called Gold Triangle. A great mountainous area where villages of Burmese, Laotians and Chinese refugees are half-hidden in the forest. The northern tribal minorities, the so called “tribes of the mountains”, are still semi-nomadic groups without personal documents nor land deeds and some of them are not even recorded to the registry office. In general, they are not educated and do not speak Thai, but only their own dialects. In 1993, in the Sri Vichian village, the Camillians opened a hosting centre: The Camillian Social Center of Chiang Rai (CSC), which aims at providing education and schooling for tribal children so that they can learn to manage their lives and improve their life conditions.
The CSC provides children with education raising awareness among their families about the right to study and together with other charity organisations, it promotes various activities to grant citizenship to tribal children encouraging the community to protect the children’s rights.
Over years, the CSC has become home for many children and adolescents who have never experienced love, comprehension and hope, but also an opportunity for them to have a brighter future. The centres currently hosts more than 200 children who attend the school learning Thai language. Every year, the adolescents attending vocational schools or high schools move to external school housing and many children can leave the villages in the mountains and come to the CSC to start a new educational path.
Children who live in villages close to the city do not move to the Camillian Centre, they stay at home and go to school by bus, so that an increasing number of children can access education. In this case, distance support covers the tuition fee, canteen and transport services.