Key Areas of Focus: Vulnerable Children, Family Strengthening, Child Protection, Alternative Care, Prevention of Family Separation, Household Economic Strengthening, Education, Health
Background: One Sky was conceived in 2012 in the Thai-Burma border town of Sankhlaburi, and became a fully registered Thai NGO in June 2013. The founders, Wiwat Thanapanya and Andy Lillicrap, saw a huge gap in essential services for large numbers of vulnerable children and their families. One Sky was created to bring change to services available to vulnerable children in Sangkhlaburi, by promoting a new way of working to support them. They aim to promote professionalism, uphold the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), encourage new ideas and connect Sangkhlaburi to a global movement of organisations working to build good practice in assisting vulnerable children. Most importantly, they strive to support children and their families in a way that helps them to stay together, enabling children to be protected inside a stable, loving family unit and within a strong, empowered community, instead of in institutions.
What They Do: One Sky is a Thai Foundation working to meet the needs of vulnerable children in the Thai-Burma border district of Sangkhlaburi. One Sky aims to keep families together by providing a range of comprehensive services to vulnerable children and their families in child protection, education and health care support, alternative care, and income generation. One Sky's services are centered around several areas of work including:
- Child Protection: Tackles risks faced by children in Sangkhlaburi, focused on two key areas: immediate protection, risk reduction
- Education Support: Tackles barriers that stop children in Sangkhlaburi from attending school, focused on: facilitating education enrolment, minimising dropout, and widening access to education for children in remote areas
- Healthcare Support: Helps to support sick children in Sangkhlaburi, focused on: ensuring access to quality medical care and preventing future ill health by tackling root causes of disease
- Alternative Care: Helps to prevent family separation, instead promoting family and community based solutions for children who are unable to live with their parents.
- Income Generation: Provides opportunities for struggling families to earn a reliable income. One Sky operates a broom-making business, providing safe employment for vulnerable families.
One Sky is a member of the Convention on the Rights of the Child Coalition for Thailand.
Number of employees:
One Sky has 17 members of staff.
Where They Work: Sangkhlaburi, Thailand
- website: www.oneskyfoundation.org
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/OneSkyFoundation
1. As an organization, how do you:
(a) search for new ideas and opportunities?
We are based in an isolated border area and it has been essential to be proactive in seeking like-minded partners and opportunities to expand our own learning. We are members of the of the CRC Coalition Thailand and together with our partners we are now part of the international care reform movement working for full implementation of the CRC.
(b) share your best wisdom with the world?
Thailand has a huge number of unregistered private children’s homes; however, little has been done to document the scale of this issue and to draw international attention to it. One Sky has worked to provide the evidence of this problem in order to kickstart the care reform debate. We have developed our skills to produce educational materials and reports in Thai and English and we share these in paper form and online through www.alternativecarethailand.com.
(c) experiment and encourage innovation?
Our work is needs led. Most of our team come from within the local community. We aim to provide holistic support services to children and families with minimal resources at our disposal and in a challenging environment. Several team members have been with One Sky from the beginning and have lived through all parts of our journey to develop effective support services. They have the confidence to develop new projects and activities that they feel best meet the needs of the children and families they are working with.
(d) engage in reflection, re-assessment and redesign?
One Sky started with the simple mission to get more kids into school. We soon realized that this meant taking a proactive approach to working in the community with families who were having problems. We didn’t know much about the CRC or the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children when we started, but we realized that our work needed to be rooted in a Child’s Rights Approach and that this would make us very different to others working with children in the same area. It seems astonishing that as such a young organization we are now seen as one of the pioneers for Alternative Care Reform in Thailand, we still have a lot of learning to do ourselves.
2. What area of your practice are you most proud of and why?
Weekend visitors find this remote area idyllic, however over the years several well qualified professionals came to work with us but couldn’t cope with the reality of the challenges here. Our biggest achievement is building a team of local people who have grown into skillful and effective family support professionals. After six years they have developed a reputation for professional working and now carry a true confidence and belief about their work which makes us immensely proud in an environment where status often rules over substance.
3. What should other organizations or practitioners contact you about? (do you support other organizations in any particular areas, do you have a key area of expertise you’re willing to share, and/or do you have some great resources to make available?)
- We want to hear about any private children’s homes operating in Thailand. We keep a database with all those we know about in order to quantify the scale of this issue and also to support the Thai government when they are ready to start tackling this issue.
- We have created a website for anyone interested in Alternative Care in Thailand, www.alternativecarethailand.com is available in Thai and English. We welcome feedback or discussion about any parts of the site.
- We are happy to provide any support we can to those running children’s homes who want to ensure what they are doing is in line with the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children and to anyone developing family support or family-based care services.