The 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. In the early years, 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.
• Protecting children from abuse, exploitation and neglect
• Access to a quality education
• HIV/AIDS prevention and care for affected children
• Optimum child development
• Improved social policies for children
• Promoting children’s rights
• Responding to emergencies, such as the 2011 flooding and 2004 tsunami
As Thailand has continued to develop, the UNICEF response to the needs of children has also evolved. Today our work is focused more on advocating for and ensuring that the proper laws and policies for children are in place, and that the human and financial resources needed to carry them out are made available. 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 the poorest and most vulnerable.
To meet this commitment, we have some 30 dedicated professionals who work out of our Bangkok office. They work with and through all levels of government and with a huge variety of other partners, including non-government organizations, universities, other UN agencies, the private sector 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 claim their right to grow up in a safe, healthy and protective environment and reach their full potential.