June 2011: Searching for Identity and Citizenship
I havebecome a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother’s sons. Psalm 69: 8
The Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT) was started by
missionaries in the early 1800s. Now it has more than 900 churches nationwide,
and 150,000 members. Global Ministries partners with CCT to minister to the 1.2
million people in Thailand who belong to ethnic minority groups, such as the
Karen, Hmong (Meo), Yao (Mein), Akha (Egaw), Lahu (Musoe), and Lisu.
tribe people, although they were born in Thailand, do not have birth
certificates, meaning they have no citizenship, no identification documents,
and no legal identity. The lack of citizenship means that these ethnic
minorities are considered illegal aliens in their own land and have little
access to basic services like education and health care, employment, and the
right to own land.
for Identity and Citizenship for Ethnic Minorities in Thailand is a new project by CCT.
Nine volunteers help villagers apply to become Thai citizens. The project
expected 100-200 individuals to receive citizenship documents in the first year
of the project. As of August 2010, almost 1,000 people had filed for
citizenship. Of those, 210 had been granted citizenship and an additional 776
were registered and waiting.
210, Mayuree and her three younger sisters recently became Thai citizens. Their
father and mother had obtained citizenship years ago but, due to the lack of
education Mayuree’s parents did not know how to register their children.
Mayuree said “I am very happy to receive the citizenship. I am a Thai now. I am
happy because I can go to school and obtain public services that other Thai
Please pray for this new project, and the impact it has on
improving the lives of so many.
Global Ministries works with the Church
of Christ in Thailand to
fund the Citizenship project.