|Reducing Girls' Vulnerability to HIV/AIDS: The Thai Approach (UNAIDS, 1999, 56 p.)|
|Implementing the strategies|
In order both to keep children out of the sex industry and to improve their lives in general, three major projects have been undertaken.
The first is known as the Sema Pattana Cheewit (Sema Life Development) Project. This project was initiated to help highly disadvantaged girls enrol in secondary school by providing them with scholarships of 3,000 baht (about US$ 77) per year.* This amount was felt to be sufficient to cover all educational costs and other personal costs during the school year.
* Bath are converted to US$ at the rote of 1= $0.02557 (official rate of 28.9.98) and rounded. Note, however, that due to severe exchange rate fluctuations in the 1997-98 period, comparisons based on this rate no longer accurately reflect actual spending power
The Thai Women of Tomorrow (TWT) Project has the same objective as the Sema Pattana Cheewit Project and focuses on the same group of children, namely, girls who have finished Grade 6 and do not go further in their education. There is, however, greater emphasis on changing attitudes of girls and their parents towards prostitution and on vocational training as an alternative to school.
Finally, the Education Loan Fund Project also aims to help disadvantaged families, but it focuses on a higher education level. Children (both girls and boys) who finish Grade 9 and cannot afford to enter upper-level secondary school, or secondary school graduates who wish to continue to vocational school or university training, are eligible for a loan from the education fund. Girls in the Sema Pattana Cheewit Project are given priority consideration in the determination of loan recipients.
These three projects are interrelated, as will be seen from the details of each project presented in the following sections. Data on each project were derived primarily from in-depth interviews with project personnel and beneficiaries. Three provinces (Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Phayao) were selected for collecting primary data on girls and teachers who participated in the projects. For the Sema Pattana Cheewit and Education Loan Fund projects, education officials at provincial and district levels, teachers and students were interviewed. For the Thai Women of Tomorrow project, the director and a committee member of the project were interviewed.