Khon Kaen is Thailand’s fourth largest city and has a population of over 1.5 million people. Some of the largest, poorest and most insecure communities in Khon Kaen are located along the railway tracks, right in the middle of town. These railway communities consist of approximately 1500 households whose temporary structures are made from scrap materials such as cardboard, tin sheets and whatever they can scrounge up. It is a hard life for slum dwellers as they face issues of discrimination due to their status as trespassers on State Railway land. They are compounded by low income, high cost of living and threat of eviction. These living conditions produce health issues for children and there are high incidents of HIV/AIDS affected families.
Khon Kaen Christian School (KKCS)
KKCS started in 1973 with the purpose of making Jesus known through a Christian education to the children of the railway slums. As these families had no way of paying school fees, the school was started and financed by Principal Songsri and her family. The children were found with plastic bags slung over their backs, sifting through garbage dumps for anything of value to recycle. The teachers of KKCS would go out and invite these malnourished children to come to school.
Now the positive influence of KKCS can be seen throughout the community. Principal Songsri says the school was started by the will of God and His blessing is resting on them. When the school began all they had was a termite infested building and loving hearts for the children. As the school population grew, they needed support beyond their own resources. ChildCare INTERNATIONAL became involved with KKCS. Through child sponsorship, the population of the school grew to over 500 children last year. The school has influenced the community. Parents now fix up their homes instead of spending their meager earnings on alcohol and gambling. To make a lasting change, the community needs to understand the value and importance of education vs. having their children work at the markets.