When Poverty Becomes a Sin

The author (far right) and other trippers visited ethnic minorities in northern Thailand



Written by: Janice Cheng (participant of CEDAR’s exposure trip in 2018; church pastor)


In December last year, I went to the Thai-Myanmar border with CEDAR to learn about their poverty alleviation projects in the area. The 8-day trip enabled me to understand more about the region. We visited some villages with CEDAR’s local partners and spoke to various individuals during our time there.


The residents are mostly ethnic minority groups from the mountainous areas, and they all have their own predicaments to overcome. There are abandoned single mothers and minority groups who have been relocated to the border area in northern Thailand due to warfare and other problems. Since they have not been granted Thai citizenship, they do not enjoy any social welfare, employment or education benefits or support.

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2018 CEDAR’s Exposure Trip – A Tale of the Border Towns

(Starry sky in a Thai-Myanmar border town)


(CEDAR’s note: The writer, Dr Ho Shun Yee, joined CEDAR’s Exposure Trip to the Thai-Myanmar border towns and the northern regions in Thailand at the end of last year. In this article, Dr Ho shares her experience and thoughts about the tour. CEDAR will host another in-depth tour to Bangladesh to visit the poverty-stricken communities. For more information, please visit: http://cedarfund.org/trip/)


In mid-December 2018, more than ten of us from CEDAR arrived at the Thai-Myanmar border – a place that turned out to be quite different from the land of orchids, Thai silk, massages and water fights that most people would have in mind when the place is mentioned. There were cloud-shrouded mountains and singing streams, but what we heard was a song of a thousand sorrows from the border towns. Yet, in a way, it was also a song of hope.

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Combat Human Trafficking From Church, Through Church


Human trafficking is often international, and it has become the second largest global illegal trade business following drugs. Sixty percent of human trafficking activities were international.

CEDAR is supporting multiple partners in their education, support network building, living condition improvements, and life rebuilding projects.

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Bringing Sustainable Development to Lahu through Ecological Improvement

Unsustainable consumption and production are among the major causes of continual deterioration of the global environment. In early years, the Lahu ethnic minority living in northern Thailand gave up their traditional agricultural practices, and started using pesticides and chemical fertilisers massively to plant cash crops in order to meet the agricultural market demand. They were making profit initially, but as the market price and oil price fluctuated, and the farmland became infertile, their harvest gradually dropped to a point where it could no longer support their living. What was worse was the negative impact on the health of villagers, whose bodies were found to contain too much residual chemical toxins as a result of prolonged consumption of crops with high levels of pesticides and chemical fertilisers.

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Help Protect Northern Thailand’s Ethnic Minorities from Human Trafficking


“One day, a staff of ours saw a group of bewildered-looking Lahu girls loitering at the bus stop,” Pastor Prasang, head of Thai-Lahu Foundation (TLF), CEDAR’s partner, told us, “so the staff stopped a woman who appeared to be the contact person and asked where the girls were heading. The woman only knew that she was supposed to take them to an unknown destination, and she did not know what they were taken there for.”

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Pray for Victims of Trafficking in Northern Thailand

Thai-Lahu Foundation (TLF) is CEDAR’s partner in Chiang Mai, Thailand. TLF’s director, Pastor Prasang recalled, “One day, a TLF co-worker discovered a group of girls belonging to the Lahu ethnic group from a village situated in the mountain regions of Northern Thailand wandering around the bus stop. The girls were not waiting for bus, but were waiting for something. The confused look on their faces showed that they were not certain what they were waiting for. The TLF co-worker walked up to the suspected coordinator and asked where she was taking the girls to. Shockingly, the coordinator was not sure either. The bus stop was only a transit hub and she only knew she had to take them to an unidentified location. At the end, the TLF co-worker recorded the identity card numbers and addresses of the girls and also of the coordinator, and warned the coordinator to ensure each girl would return to their village safely. The TLF co-worker later checked with the village and was reassured that all girls were safely at home.

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