Fellow Since 2000
This profile was prepared when Surang Janyam was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2000.
The New Idea
Surang has designed a non-formal education program for sex workers in major cities in Thailand and Southeast Asia. She has developed a flexible curriculum tailored to the students' unique needs and schedules. With help from her staff of volunteer teachers, including former sex workers, Surang is equipping women (and some men) in the sex industry with basic language skills, as well as information relevant to their health and safety, such as information on legal rights and sexually transmitted diseases, including Aids. In addition to providing daily classes, Surang is helping her students lobby for improved access to social services, including health care, social security, and educational opportunities. In coordination with the Ministry for Education, Surang has been successful in implementing components of her non-formal education model nationally.