AKHA OUTREACH SERVICES INC
September 14, 2009
Akha Outreach is one of many christian based organizations working in Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai province, Thailand. This mountanious region is inhabited by different minority ethnic groups. This very organization is focusing on one of the biggest groups - the Akha. Akha live according to set of beliefs and practices which they call Akhazang. Their way of life has been distinct of the lowland Thai society. Akhas who were able to preserve the knowledge and customs of their ancestors are one of the world's indigenous peoples groups (the Thai government does not recognise any of these groups as indigenous but rather labels them as migrants).
There have been a big change for these mounatin people since the 60s. The main revolution in thair lifes took a place in the 90s when most of the missionary NGOs appeared in the area. The working techniques of most of the organisations is similar - to take children from mountain villages to city boarding schools. In these places, often labeled as orphanages (most of the children DO HAVE parents), the children are introduced to a new way of life - new language (the children are forbiden to use their mother tongue (language is one of the most importants marks of ethnicity) a new way of thinking (everything what the parents and ancestors taught them was wrong and EVIL). These children are told that there is only ONE TRUTH - the truth of the missionaries. Any kind of variety is forbiden. These children after they leave the christian homes do not usualy return back to their villages but rather live on the edge of thai society in city slums - work in factories, massage parlors, bars, etc. Nobody questions what the parents do when they lose their children. In countries where there is no social security and the state does not give the old people money to survive is the work of such organisations highly destructive.
Akha Outreach Services is one of the biggest organisations in the area. They focus very much on Bible studies and raise new missionaries from the mountain children. Free, Prior and Informed Consent is out of questions.
Result: BE AWARE OF THIS ORGANISATION which aim is to proselytize. For this activities they receive a large amount of finances from fundamentalist evangelical orgaisations.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
A part of my research is to follow lifes of the former inmates. I do see the destructive result of the organisation's activities on the young people as well as the village societies.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
I would like the police to investigate all the allegations of the child rights exploitations. Unfortunately, the state is happy that somebody takes care of the "primitives" with his own money.
What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...
The organisation is very rich. It is enjoyable to spend a short time surrounded with such a wealth. it is just shocking to return back to the villages where you will see no help of the NGO what so ever.
The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...
Director, director's wife, volunteers, etc.
Ways to make it better...
If the organisation would not take the children to their residential schools but rather protect and support their schooling in the villages.
In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...
The biggest challenge facing this organisation is religious blindness and greed.
How frequently have you been involved with the organization?
About every month
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Professional with expertise in this field & I have been conducting a social anthropological fieldwork in the area since the year 2000.