shield arrow-simple-alt-top arrow-simple-alt-left arrow-simple-alt-right arrow-simple-alt-bottom facebook instagram linkedin medium pinterest rss search-alt shaper twitter video-play arrow-long-right arrow-long-left arrow-long-top arrow-long-bottom arrow-simple-right arrow-simple-left arrow-simple-bottom readio arrow-simple-top speaker-down plus minus cloud hb pin camera globe cart rotate Group-35 star edit arrow-top arrow-right arrow-left arrow-bottom check search close square speaker-up speaker-mute return play pause love
Back to Stories

No Citizenship.

Share

No Citizenship.

No Passport. No Protection. No Future.

Give Now
I

magine being denied rightful citizenship in the country of your birth.

Without citizenship, no country has to defend you.

No hospital has to care for you. 

No school has to educate you. 

You’re forced to live without the protection of the law. 

For women like Meeyu, this means you are further vulnerable to violence and sexual exploitation. 


Your gifts can provide citizenship for countless hill tribe members in Thailand.

Meeyu is a 28-year-old mother of five and belongs to an indigenous hill tribe minority group in Thailand called ‘Akha’. Her family is not a group of refugees seeking asylum, nor are they internally displaced. 

But despite living in the mountainous villages of Thailand for generations, Meeyu and her family, along with many other hill tribe members, are not officially recognized as Thai citizens. 

lorem

Because she lacked citizenship documentation, Meeyu was confined to her village as a child and unable to go to school. Her family lived near a police checkpoint, and without citizenship, they could not go beyond the checkpoint without risk of being arrested and sent to prison.

When she was older, Meeyu eventually married and found work on a nearby rice farm with her mother Akhang. But the family still lived in anxiety and despair every day.  

They feared they would always be trapped and vulnerable. 

"I am scared without citizenship,” Akhang whispers. "I worry about the effect on my children, that they won’t be able to go to school.” 

Thankfully, help was on the way. 

When a relative told her about an organization called IJM, Meeyu felt a surge of hope.

"When IJM came, I trusted them and believed that they could help,” Meeyu says.

 IJM staff immediately set up several meetings with district officials to complete the citizenship applications.

Our team in Thailand made multiple three-hour journeys from the Chiang Mai office to accompany a frightened Meeyu and Akhang back and forth past the police checkpoint near their home to check on the paperwork.

"I got sick every time because I would be so scared of going through the checkpoint,” Meeyu recalls. 

Akhang’s application was processed quickly, and she became a citizen in January 2015, followed shortly by her other children.

lorem

More than a year later, in April 2016, IJM staff met Meeyu at the district office where she stamped her thumbprint on the paperwork that finally made her a citizen of Thailand. 

"I want to put my ID card on my forehead and go to the police and say ‘I’m Thai!’”Meeyu laughs before straightening her posture to share a serious message. 

As she begins to speak, her voice breaks and tears emerge:

"Please tell the people who helped our family, thank you. Thank you to everyone who has supported us."

Without the generous gifts of supporters like you, Meeyu and her children would be left without protection, and without a future.

Join us in giving families like Meeyu’s the life they deserve.

Your generosity will help provide hill tribe members citizenship and a passport to freedom.

lorem

Become a Freedom Partner Today

You might also be interested in…

see more

Newsletter Sign Up

Stay connected to the work! Sign up to get updates straight to your inbox.
You Can Send Rescue Today.

Give a gift today and be a last minute responder for a child in need of rescue or a social worker holding the hands of a now-free mother.

You can make the most impact as a Freedom Partner today.

Your generous monthly support of $31 or more will send rescue to vulnerable children and families at a moment’s notice, stand with them as they rebuild their lives in freedom and see their abusers in court – no matter how long justice takes.

Login

Donor Portal

Review your giving, tax statements and contact info via the IJM Donor Portal.

please sign in
Email Sign Up
Get updates from IJM on stories from the field, events in your area and opportunities to get involved.
sign up

Media Contact

We're here to answer your questions. Please fill out the form below and someone from our team will follow up with you soon.

Media Contact

More Information

Petra Kooman
Director of Marketing and Public Relations
[email protected]
519.679.5030 x.229

Make an Impact

Your skills, talents, and ideas are a force for change. From birthday parties to polar dips, your fundraising campaign can stop the violence.

Learn More

Thank you for signing up to learn more about starting a fundraiser. We will be in touch soon!

In the meantime, please take a look at our free guide: 25 Tips for the Novice Fundraiser.

Need Help?

Need more information?
We're here to help.
Contact us at [email protected]