Fellow Since 1995
Child Protection Foundation
This profile was prepared when Montri Sintawichai was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1995.
The New Idea
Unlike many of the more developed countries, Thailand has yet to institutionalize a system to protect the rights and lives of children. Thailand's public services are inadequate to deal with the problem of child abuse, and in fact they often make difficult family situations even worse. Because no legal framework exists, efforts to address child abuse have been restricted by the policies of public agencies and have produced little success. Montri Sintawichai has created a new model for intervention in cases of child abuse. It shelters and nurtures abused children and works with their families to improve the situations that lead to abuse. Montri's approach contrasts with Thailand's centralized system of social services, which are poorly equipped to work with families, and departs from the cultural custom of refusing to intervene in private family matters. He employs the combined efforts of the family, local leaders and public servants. His broad community base and his effectiveness have neutralized resistance from the government bureaucracy, which is now observing his program as a model for its own services. He also lobbies persistently to establish the legal framework for the society to protect the rights of children.