Our response to COVID-19

The implications of COVID-19 are being felt across world and affecting communities in every corner of the globe. To ensure that KHT is able to continue supporting Karen communities in Northern Thailand, we have adopted a COVID-19 response plan that allows us to safely implement project activities. 

In Thailand, a state of emergency was annouced in March 2020. This saw restrictions put in place regarding travel between provinces, large gatherings and travel over night. As a result of this, we deemed it necessary for all international members of our team to return home until the situation improves. In addition, we decided to close our office in Khun Yuam, and limited travel to essential only. 

Schools, colleges and universities were all also closed as a result of the pandemic, and, as such, our edcuation programme was put on hold until education instituions reopen. We did, however, decide to continue the construction elements of our health and livelihoods programmes because of the important positive impact the projects have on remote Karen communities in Northern Thailand.

To implement construction activities in a safe manner, our construction team have been following strict guidelines. While working on projects, they have been staying outside the village, limiting interaction with community members as much as possible and ensuring to maintain a 2m distance at all times. Only construction activities have been taking place, which means our hygiene education and data collecitton activities have unfortuantely been on hold, and the team have been taking a hands-off approach, providing instructions and advice to guide the community. What we have learnt over the past few months is that, at KHT, we have a team dedicated to supporting postive change, which has allowed us to implement activities in a safe manner, even in the height of the pandemic.

In addition to strict guidelines above, we have also been providing COVID-19 education regarding the symptoms, how to avoid transmission and what to do if you anyone thinks they have the virus where possible. Together, we hope to help to educate communities to avoid transmission and protect them from the pandemic.

Since the state of emergency was annouced, the situation in Thailand has improved drastically. Mae Hong Son Province has only recorded 5 cases in total and the state of emergency is expected to be lifted 1st July 2020. Although we have been able to continue to implement our community health and livelihoods programmes, this means that we should also be able to to restart our education programme in the coming weeks.

Although restrictions are being lifted, KHT promises to always act responsibly to protect both the communities we work with and our team, and we will continue to review our COVID-19 response plan as the situation develops over the coming months. Only when sufficient official advice is available will we consider removing the working guidelines we have in place.

If you want to supprot us during the pandemic, please consider providing a regular or one-off donation through our website. These are unprecedented times for everyone around the world and countless charities like ours are going to feel the financial consequences of COVID-19. Any support you could provide will ensure that we can continue to employ our amazing team, run our office in Khun Yuam that has since opening become the backbone of KHT’s operations in Thailand, and empower vulnerable communities across Northern Thailand. Together, we can help mitigate the risk of COVID-19 and get through this pandemic stronger than ever. We are truly grateful for your continued support of KHT, especially in the current global climate.