Shaista* lives with her husband and two teenage children in Bangkok. They left Pakistan because they were persecuted for their Christian faith and fled after one of Shaista’s relatives was murdered. Life is difficult for refugees in Bangkok. Because Thailand has not signed the refugee convention, refugees have no legal status and cannot work or attend school. Authorities raid neighborhoods known to have refugees or stop people on the street and demand bribes. Because of this, many refugees are afraid to leave their homes.
Shaista and her family have been in Bangkok for several months and are afraid to leave home. They were professionals in Pakistan, but she and her husband cannot work and suffer from stress. The children do not attend school and spend their days in the family’s one room apartment. Shaista fears for her their socialization and longs for a future when they are in school, around other kids their age.
JRS Thailand visits refugees who cannot travel to the JRS center. These individuals and families are identified through a network of staff, volunteers, and refugee families JRS is serving. During the first visit to Shaista’s family, Samad, a member of the JRS home visit team, assessed the family’s physical and emotional needs and guided them through stress relief activities. He and other team members visit a few times each week to provide counseling, family therapy, and basic necessities.
Samad has noted an improvement in Shaista’s well being particularly. She now attends church services and is considering attending a group therapy session at the JRS center, where she could meet other women facing similar situations and perhaps help her children to make friends with others in their community.
*names have been changed