United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) was created to provide emergency relief to millions of children suffering in the aftermath of World War II. UNICEF began providing assistance to Thailand in 1948. Our efforts in the past were focused on child health and nutrition. For example, we ran programmes to combat life-threatening and disfiguring childhood diseases such as yaws, and we helped to introduce a permanent vaccination programme for tuberculosis. Over the same period, we worked to provide clean drinking water and sanitation in rural areas and to improve child nutrition through the distribution of corn-soy milk and iodized salt.
Since those early days, the situation of children in Thailand has changed dramatically, and our mandate has broadened widely to reflect this change. Current priorities include:
Educational access and quality
HIV/AIDS prevention and care for affected children
Child health care and development
Monitoring social policy
Promoting child rights and mobilizing society
Capacity building in the poorest districts
Responding to emergencies, such as the 2011 flooding and 2004 tsunami
As Thailand continues to change, our responses to the needs of children will also evolve. But one aspect of our work will always remain the same: our commitment to ensuring that the benefits of Thailand’s rapid and impressive development reach down to even the poorest and most vulnerable.
To meet this commitment we have a staff of some 30 dedicated professionals, who are based in our Bangkok office. They work with and through all levels of government and a huge variety of other partners, including NGOs, universities, other UN agencies, corporates and children themselves.
By bringing together the full range of those concerned with children’s rights, we get closer to the day when all children in Thailand, regardless of gender, ethnicity, socio-economic background or legal status, are able to enjoy their rights to grow up in a safe, healthy and protective environment and to reach their full potential.