Thailand

Thailand - Rawai's sea gypsy families receive World Vision assistance

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Families living in a sea gypsy village on Rawai beach, Phuket have been given clothing to help recover some of the losses they suffered during the tsunami.

The 230 families in the village each received a bag of clothing, including jackets, pants, shoes, shirts, sandals, and t-shirts for children and adults.

Mostly from the Moken tribe, the sea gypsy families lost most of their belongings and had their homes damaged by the tsunami.

World Vision is the only organization working in the Rawai beach community. "There are many challenges for the sea gypsies to overcome," says field staff Wantanee Mankid. "Particularly since Thai is not the Moken people's native tongue, they struggle with some very basic aspects of life."

The sea gypsies lead a semi-nomadic life, relying heavily on the sea for livelihood, their shelters residing close to the water's edge. The Community Organizations Development Institute (CODI) estimates that 1,000 sea gypsy households have been affected by the tsunami.

Life has been difficult since the tsunami for families who rely on the sea for income, and many parents in the Rawai community want to see their children to go to school to broaden their options in life.

Many parents say they did not attend school themselves and were originally wary about registering their children, not fully understanding the benefits of doing so. However, without a birth certificate, the children cannot attend school.

World Vision will also build a playground for the children in Rawai beach.