Title: Role of Religious Organizations in Development Assistance: A Case Study of Ban Takula in Suan Phung District, Ratchaburi Province
Author: Saw Aye Min
Keywords: RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS/ DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE/ SUSTAINBILITY/ IMMIGRANT KAREN/ TAKULA VILLAGE/ RATCHABURI PROVINCE/ THAILAND
The ethnic Karen had been living along Burma and Thailand border areas where the demarcation between the two countries has been porous to date. The Karen people in the borderlands usually have their relatives on both sides of the countries. Thus, it is normal that they are used to traveling to and from Burma to Thailand to visit their relatives. Migration of Karen people to Thailand has occurred since an unknown date.
The objectives of research are to identify the specific roles of religious organizations in development assistance for the Karen villagers in Ban Takula and to examine the sustainability of the development assistance given by different religious organization in this village. This research uses qualitative methods by relying on semi-structured in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and non-participant observations. Both primary and secondary data were used in documentary analysis. The research reviewed and analyzed the existing literature for its documentary research.
The research found out that some philanthropy, faith-based and secular organizations are helping the immigrant Karen living in Takula in Suan Phung District, Ratchaburi Province. They are Tarmaka temple, Diocesan Social Action Center of Ratchaburi (DISACR), Shwe Yin Kyaw Eiksaydaya Upper Lane Gang (Traditional Healer), Catholic Office of Emergency Relief for the Refugees (COERR), Takula Karen Baptist Church (TKBC) and Rajanagrindra Tropical Disease International Center (RTIC). Regarding the role of these civil society organizations, the research found out that they are providing several development assistances such as health, education, credit union to the villagers for their income generation to survive in their new lives.
The research concluded that the development assistance given by the above organizations is limited and inconsistent in this village. Most of the Karen immigrants at Takula have to survive their lives working in seasonal works such as plantations, gardens, maids and construction sites around the province. Despite having some job opportunities, the Karen immigrant at Takula village are so poor that they need the substantial development assistance to the sustainability of their economic life in future.
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