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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Environmentally Sustainable Development in Thailand


Written by: Jojo Poon

What is “development”? What kind of development will lead to better living? In what way will go by contraries? We might be able to find out more from the experience of the farming tribes in Northern Thailand.

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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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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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Support the Agricultural and Community Development of Northern Thailand Hill Tribes

[ ‘SHARE’ Jan-Feb 2013 – Green Notes Or Green Life? ] STEP INTO THE WORLD


While hoping to economically develop, the Lahu people of Northern Thailand borrowed money to buy fertilisers and pesticides for growing cash crops. Then crop prices fell but they could not return to growing rice because the soil was too contaminated. Like many young Lahu people, Jam and his wife moved to the city but contracted HIV/AIDS from drug abuse. Jobless and rejected by their people, they resorted to stealing food.

Thai-Lahu Foundation (TLF) carries out agricultural development projects in eight local villages teaching production of organic fertilisers and pesticides, supplying seeds, livestock and equipment to encourage organic farming. They help the people to resolve community problems, encouraging them to learn the traditional Lahu language and reinforcing their native knowledge and life skills.

After training, Jam and his wife now grow vegetables and raise pigs. They are also involved in establishing a local HIV/AIDS support network. You only need to give a little yet many Lahus like Jam and his wife will have hope again!

HK$200/month facilitates one village’s leadership training on assessing and resolving community problems

HK$420/month provides seed farming for eight villages (3,500 inhabitants)

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