Families served in 2016: 719
- Population: Over 68.2 million
- Urbanization: 50.4 percent live in cities
- Life expectancy: 74.7 years
- Unemployment rate: 0.9 percent
- Population living below poverty line: 12.6 percent
Source: World Factbook
Habitat for Humanity in Thailand
Habitat for Humanity began working in Thailand in the northeastern province of Udon Thani in 1998. Since July 2007, Habitat Thailand has been operating through its national office in Bangkok and zone offices located in the north, northeast, central and south.
The housing need in Thailand
Since the 1980s, Thailand has achieved remarkable progress in economic growth and poverty reduction. According to World Bank, rising incomes have helped Thailand to reduce poverty significantly, from 67 percent in 1986 to 11 percent in 2014. More than 80 percent of the country’s 7.3 million poor live in rural areas although a third of the poor are currently in urban areas outside of Bangkok. Regions in the deep south and northeast as well as some ethnic groups are not benefitting equally from the country’s economic success. Increased urbanization, coupled with insufficient planning, has contributed to the creation of slums, particularly in the Bangkok metropolitan region which accounts for a majority of the slum settlements in Thailand.
How Habitat addresses the need in Thailand
Habitat for Humanity Thailand works with donors and volunteers in providing affordable housing solutions. Corporate partners include Korean Reinsurance, Destination Asia, Thrivent, Bain & Company, Dow, HMC Polymer, Cargill, Ananda Development, Siam Commercial Bank, Seagate, Caterpillar, Nissan, Cigna, Bank of America, P&G and HSBC. International schools and universities also lend a hand.
Build decent, affordable housing
Habitat for Humanity Thailand works with partners to build, repair or rehabilitate homes with families living below the national poverty line and vulnerable groups. Construction costs are brought down through volunteer labor, gifts-in-kind from corporate donors and donation of soil for land reclamation from the local government, among others.
Disaster response and mitigation
In northern and southern Thailand, Habitat has rebuilt school dormitories and improved water and sanitation facilities in local schools and communities. Through its community development program, Habitat Thailand has helped schools to build greenhouses, start fish farms and train students in planting fruit and vegetables for consumption and feeding the fish.
In end-January 2017, Habitat Thailand launched a flood response after widespread flooding hit several provinces in the south. Hygiene kits comprising items for cleaning up houses were distributed to affected families in Trang province. The focus is on helping affected families to rebuild or rehabilitate their houses. During the devastating floods of 2011, Habitat Thailand distributed clean-up kits and emergency shelter kits to nearly 4,000 families in 11 provinces. Habitat also helped more than 1,400 families to rebuild their homes and lives. In addition, 32 schools were rehabilitated and four multi- purpose buildings were built in Ayutthaya and Phitsanulok provinces.
Meet a Habitat family
For many years, Patcharin and her children lived in her mother’s tiny house with 18 other family members in Pathumthani province near Bangkok. In 2015, Patcharin partnered with Habitat for Humanity Thailand to build a new house. Living in a secure home, she was able to start a drinking water distribution business with some savings. She has also partnered with a community-based group to source locally made cosmetic products which she sells in the weekly Sunday market. Her sons Ammarin, 10, and Atsavin, 5, now have space to study, to play and to sleep well. “This house means a lot to me,” she says, “It has given my family the stability that we needed. It has enabled me to become independent and has given me confidence to explore new opportunities.”