Thailand: Thicha na Nakhon

I do not feel special working in this area, because I feel that it is my responsibility to do so."

— Thicha na Nakhon

Thicha na Nakhon (born 1952) is an active campaigner and advocate of the rights of children, youth and women. She is the director of Ban Kanchanapisek Youth Training Center, a detention facility run by the Ministry of Justice, for children facing criminal charges. Her most recent activity involves raising awareness of the problems of women and children in the tsunami-affected areas, and providing direct assistance in the form of psychosocial care to enable them to recover from the trauma and displacement .

With her keen understanding of psychology, Thicha na Nakhon was able to bring many innovative ideas into the government’s services for children and youth. She introduced entertainment activities for children confined to hospitals in order to help them feel better while they are away from their homes and families. This project has helped immensely in the psychological and physical healing of the children. At the Pak Kret Welfare Center, Thicha na Nakhon introduced a system that focuses on the benefit and comfort of the children, instead of the staff at the welfare home. For the youth, she introduced a project to promote the development of the personality of youngsters placed in temporary homes. For children living in welfare homes facing charges of narcotics abuse, she initiated a systematic program to build their self-confidence by enabling them to return to their communities without shame. Thicha na Nakhon has been involved in campaigns to bring about more recognition of the role of women in society. She endorsed the Women's Constitution Network (WCN) which empowers women to participate in politics and political reform. "Our society is male-dominated. Many laws we have to abide by today were written by men and therefore overlook some issues faced by women," she says, citing Article 276 of Criminal Law, which permits men to rape their own wives. In her campaign for the amendment of this article, she was criticized by those who believe that she was provoking problems within the family institution, instead of realizing that she was protecting women from violence and rape at the hands of their own husbands. After giving 27 years to social welfare, Thicha na Nakhon feels that a lot more needs to be done to bring about justice and social equality between men and women.

Ban Kanchanapisek Youth Training Center Women's Constitution Network (WCN) Sahatai Foundation