Many countries in South Asia have become the homes of recently displaced refugee families.
Thailand specifically has seen an increase of Sri Lankan refugees over the past decade.
Because the applications for refugee and asylum statuses take so long to process and require paperwork fees along the way, many refugees go years without receiving their official, legal status in Thailand and therefore are unable to work or earn an income to feed their families.
Because they are prevented from obtaining legal work, many Sri Lankan refugees can’t afford to renew their visas, making them illegal aliens in Thailand after just a few short months.
One Send Relief partner in the region is ensuring that these families have enough food to survive the many months of uncertainty that they are forced to navigate.
With a decade-long ministry operating out of a local church, Martin made it his mission to focus on families with children who were not receiving government aid. He commented, “Nothing in the refugee application process is certain, and it usually takes a long time. Raids to find refugees [whose visas have expired] have become more intense. The basic approach of our ministry is to provide food staples for about 70 of these families at a time. We feel it is important to have volunteers visit them personally in order to hear their stories, pray for their needs and ultimately share the gospel.”
Martin also conducts weekly visits to the detention centers where he delivers bags of emergency rations. Conditions in the centers are unsanitary, and depression and hopelessness are rampant among the prisoners. These weekly visits give them something to look forward to and offer them the assurance that they will have nutritious meals for at least a few days every week.
Additionally, Martin is working tirelessly to create education programs for refugee and asylum-seeking children who have been denied access to the local schools. Sometimes this involves volunteers teaching the children basic lessons, but trainings are also held to help parents learn to teach their own children without the need for a formal curriculum.
Please continue to pray for Martin and his ministry to displaced families!
Published January 14, 2022