Since 2005, Thailand has experienced a general improvement in its socioeconomic development, as indicated by the UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI). In 2014 the country received an HDI ranking of 93 out of 187 countries while the country’s 2015 per-capita GDP (purchasing power parity) was 16,306 USD alongside a moderately growing economy.
Despite what can be regarded as a firm improvement of the general living conditions of the population a relevant number of Thais still suffers from poverty, social exclusion or discrimination due to different factors like ethnicity, gender, and geographic location. In fact, according to the UNDP, 0.9% of the population still live on less than 3.10 USD per day, while according to the Asian Development Bank 10.9% of Thais live below the national poverty line. These challenges have been particularly severe for certain ethnicities like Malay-Muslims in the far south and northern ethnic tribal groups. These persistent inequalities are so rooted in the country that have contributed to marginalize specific sections of society from accessing adequate levels of education, health care and all those services that could help the population improve its standards of living. Even worse, a continuous privatization of the health care and education system is privileging those people who belong to the upper classes contributing to widening the already existing disparities.
The DU Program was initiated in the country in 2016.
The purpose was clearly to help create those infrastructures that are needed to offer good quality education to marginalized people with a particular attention to beneficiaries coming from the rural areas of the country where there is almost no opportunity to have access to computer centers.
Thanks to the support of the local partner, the Pistorio Foundation, the program is continuing well at VBAC college in Chiang Rai and there are plans for 2018 to expand the reach of the activities even more by adding new projects.
As of September 2018 over 500 students have attended our courses and we look forward to reaching new beneficiaries in the coming months.