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Sara Sondhi in Thailand

Sara Sondhi in ThailandI was in Thailand for two months (July-September) working for BRC (Bangkok Refugee Centre), which partners UNHCR in supporting urban refugees in Thailand. BRC provides a safe space for urban refugees to access legal advice, health care, psychological help and social work intervention. There were about 500 folks, including children, who used the centre; refugees from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Somalia and other parts of North Africa. They also come to receive their monthly subsistence allowance from UNHCR, to find a friend, or to partake in recreational activities offered on site.

I worked with refugee and asylum seekers mainly in the medical unit, helping provide basic health care to the urban refugee population. I also worked in the education unit teaching refugee children English, maths, art and computers. I also spent time in the social unit helping the social workers in their outreach to refugee families; visiting the families in their homes, writing up reports on their cases, assessing and responding to their needs.

I was surprised at how little the refugees had, but how grateful they were for it. They have to be fairly quiet as the residents complain; usually the kids don’t play outside much. Life is very uncertain because the police can arrest them at any time and take them to the immigration holding centre, even if they have a refugee certificate from UNHCR.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time working there and I am very thankful to have had this opportunity. Mission helped my own personal growth as I trusted God to provide for my needs, exploring whether He might have me doing longer term mission in the future.