Step Ahead Development Foundation

Since 2002, the Step Ahead Development Foundation (SADF) has been working with vulnerable families in several locations in Thailand. Their main goal is to support and strengthen families so that they remain together and thereby ensure children’s rights to safety and protection. SADF is a small grassroots organization that has already achieved a great deal – for example, they were pioneers with their innovative family support program called “Keeping Families Together” (KFT), which is now not only found throughout Thailand, but also in five other countries.

The organization works on the basis of a comprehensive perspective that includes the child, their family and others in the immediate vicinity. Support is provided over a long period, thus initiating and ensuring the change and resistance required to improve the family’s situation – in particular with the aim of improving the communication and interaction skills between the parents and children as well as their relationships in and outside the home. The ten-step discussion model used by SADF for this purpose is aimed at increasing knowledge in the following areas:

 

  • The key role that the family and those in the child’s immediate vicinity have in creating a resistant society;
  • How views on the value of children are crucial for society;
  • How to protect the family and children from all types of abuse;
  • The rights of all family members;
  • The importance of positive parenting (without mental and physical violence) and how this affects a child’s behavior;
  • Violence in the family and how it impacts children and adults;
  • Family finances; how to increase income, reduce debts, begin saving, stay within budget, etc.;
  • The importance of nutritious food and good personal hygiene.

SADF also conducts preschool activities for children aged from one to five years old from highly vulnerable families (which is unique, as most children in Asia begin preschool at the age of three). On a national level, SADF plays an active role in highlighting the problems surrounding orphanages and the fact that a majority of children in orphanages are neither orphans nor in need of protection but rather are usually placed in orphanages for poverty-related reasons, thus breaching the children’s right to their parents.

Childhood’s support for SADF is provided in the form of direct support to the children and their families, for the further development of educational material for Keeping Families Together and to strengthen SADF’s role and commitment at the national level, including studies, lobbying work for legislative change and for its implementation.