Ngaow" with one of the Childlife children.
Childlife was started in 1999 by Mr. Guljohn Jeamrum (Kru Ngaow) when he began gathering data and organising activities with child beggars in Chiang Rai. Subsequently, he travelled to Maesai and discovered many similar problems there.
Sai River, in Maesai, marks the border between Thailand
and Myanmar (Burma). The Lao border is only a few kilometers
away. This makes Maesai a focal point for many refugees from
the Shan State in Myanmar, southern China and Laos. The area
is well known for trafficking routes involving drugs or human
beings. After a survey period of collecting data and establishing
friendships with the street children, it became clear to Mr.
Jeamrum that an emergency shelter was necessary to provide
assistance and education for the children.
The Childlife house, based a few kilometers away from the border in Maesai, opened in August, 2000. Volunteers and staff began visiting the Thai/Burmese border daily and listening to the children’s problems (abuse, sickness etc). They offered them an opportunity to ask for help and provided them with counselling. Many children started to come to the Childlife shelter site.
February 2001, fighting between the Shan and Burmese armies
caused a number of children to seek temporary shelter within
our site. For a short period, Childlife provided shelter not
only for the children, but also for their parents.
2003, Childlife moved the Shelter to a new location, outside
the Maesai township, where they began agricultural projects,
Today there are 147 children living permanently in the Shelter,
with 12 full-time staff and volunteers working for Childlife.