Life in Bangkok for urban refugees is marked by chaos. Whatever sense of community and friendship that refugees felt in their home country disappears.
Their ability to communicate is crippled. They rarely know if they will have enough money for basic necessities. Families often go days without food. They frequently are kicked out of apartments because they cannot pay the rent on time each month.
And that’s without even mentioning the most glowering menace hanging over their heads: In Thailand, immigration police are the hunters. Refugees are the prey. Any time our refugees step outside their rooms, they face the risk of Thai police arresting them, and throwing them in the detention center. Sometimes they don't even have to step outside their homes. Recently, while two of our refugees were sitting peacefully in their home, immigration police entered, arrested them and hauled them to the detention center, where they remain, without any immediate hope of escape.
With this backdrop of intense insecurity, we jumped at the opportunity to partner with Generation Miracle, and obtain safe house for some of our refugees.
One of our families is from Vietnam. They are members of the Hmong ethnic group, and face racism both in Vietnam and Thailand. Because they are so marginalized, landlords try to take advantage of them and they haven't been able to find a safe, permanent home.
Another of our families is from Pakistan. The mother is gravely ill, was suffering from a lack of food, and struggled to walk up the four flights of stairs to reach their old room. Her son is diabetic, and became gravely ill when their family could not eat for days.
Our third family was living in squalid conditions in an apartment owned by a local slumlord. They and their four small children’s only choice was to live in a room covered in filth, where cockroaches ran up and down the walls. It was the kind of place I wouldn’t want to set foot in, let alone live.
So you can imagine their excitement at having a new house. They now live in a part of town that immigration police do not search for refugees. Our families will also no longer have to worry about whether they will have money for rent, or food to eat. Perhaps more than anything, their daily lives are no longer confined to glorified walk-in closet. They now have real space to actually live in.
As a new chapter in this story opens, we rejoice that these families are far from the danger of prison, free from the fear of eviction, and secure in a place they can call home. We pray that these families, from profoundly different cultures, will experience an abundance of grace. We dream for the day when this house can serve as a launching pad for our families to go to a country that will welcome them.
In the meantime, we are still working on raising support so that we can keep paying for rent and food for these families. If you like to be a would to be a part of this journey, click here, and we will connect you with one of these families.