Not All Heroes Wear Capes

Volunteers mobilize to help respond to the COVID-19 outbreak in the Klongtoey community

Dilshat Zhussupova
I Am UNICEF volunteers Chatuphon Tangjai (left) and Maninthares Tansathien (right) are working as case workers from home to support the COVID-19 response in the Klongtoey community.
UNICEF Thailand
07 May 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt education, formal and informal work and access to health care for young people, but they will not abandon hope for recovery. Young volunteers are supporting the COVID-19 response for the most vulnerable in Klongtoey’s densely populated, low-income community, which has seen a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases over the past week.

The Klongtoey community in Bangkok is Thailand’s largest low-income community. Comprising 43 sub-communities, it is home to some 100,000 people living in crowded conditions with limited access to hygiene and other critical supplies.

At the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak in the Klongtoey community and upon their request, UNICEF provided support in organizing volunteer activities and recruiting volunteers for the COVID-19 response efforts. UNICEF quickly mobilized five volunteers through its I Am UNICEF network to help track new COVID-19 cases, identify at-risk groups, facilitate referrals to health and child protection services and ensure timely support for affected households.

“This volunteer opportunity through I Am UNICEF is one of a kind, as I won’t find such an experience in any classroom,” said Chatuphon Tangjai, a volunteer leader under our volunteer programme. “I wanted to be part of the effort in helping improve the lives of people in the Klongtoey community as they have been hit hardest during this time. I strongly believe that we will pull through this pandemic and leave no one behind.”

“I used to think that I was not confident enough to volunteer,” said Maninthares Tansathien, who is volunteering as a case worker. “But with UNICEF’s support, I found the place where I want to be. I’m very honoured to be part of the effort in helping people in Thailand.”

I Am UNICEF volunteer Pichayapak Chaichomchun working as a graphic designer from home to support the COVID-19 response in the Klongtoey community.
UNICEF Thailand
I Am UNICEF volunteer Pichayapak Chaichomchun working as a graphic designer from home to support the COVID-19 response in the Klongtoey community.

Another five students are volunteering to develop a series of information materials such as infographics, posters, pamphlets and a community radio programme to disseminate self-care tips, health and child protection guidelines and the latest government measures among the Klongtoey community.

“Working with UNICEF staff, who are very attentive to each task, I feel proud to be part of the effort of the graphic designer volunteers during this difficult time,” said Pichayapak Chaichomchun, a student from Sripatum University.

COVID-19 information material designed by I Am UNICEF volunteers for the Klongtoey community.
UNICEF Thailand
COVID-19 information material designed by I Am UNICEF volunteers for the Klongtoey community.

Under this initiative, UNICEF staff have been supporting the Klongtoey community in the planning and coordination of volunteer activities, as well as supporting and mentoring the I Am UNICEF volunteers taking part in the COVID-19 response.

More than 30 volunteers from the Klongtoey community and UNICEF in a daily virtual meeting with former Transportation Minister Chatchart Sittipan to report on and coordinate their COVID-19 response efforts.
Chatchart Sittipan
More than 30 volunteers from the Klongtoey community and UNICEF in a daily virtual meeting with former Transportation Minister Chatchart Sittipan to report on and coordinate their COVID-19 response efforts.

UNICEF is currently recruiting volunteers to help pack 20,000 sets of its hygiene supplies including soaps, hand sanitizers, alcohol sprays, disinfectants and face masks, as well as 2,000 sets of books, toys and learning materials to keep young children healthy and learning during the pandemic.

Upon the request of the Klongtoey community, UNICEF is also recruiting volunteers to help pack supplies donated to the community by individuals and organizations for quick distribution to families in need.

To join I Am UNICEF volunteers in helping fight COVID-19, please visit: https://www.unicef.org/thailand/i-am-unicef