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School for Moken and Thai/Muslim kids in Koh Lao. Moken children often drop out of school to join their parents fishing so teachers struggle to keep them in the class. Ranong province, southern Thailand. | by Plan Asia
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School for Moken and Thai/Muslim kids in Koh Lao. Moken children often drop out of school to join their parents fishing so teachers struggle to keep them in the class. Ranong province, southern Thailand.

The Surin Islands, 60 kilometres from mainland Thailand, have gone from paradise to prison for the Moken people. Since the Surin National Park in Phang Nga province was established in 1981, their nomadic patterns, foraging and logging activities have suffered and their culture may soon be a thing of the past, but that's only half the problem.

 

Moken children aren’t counted as Thai citizens. They are often isolated due to their physical location and excluded from mainstream society, unreached by basic services. Plan Thailand works on Indigenous and Isolated Children in Phang Nga and Ranong to support the Moken children and improve their quality of life.

 

The nomadic culture of the Moken is about 1,000 years old, long enough for them to develop their own distinctive language and culture. Many aspects of Moken culture have already changed as the culture has gradually moved away from the ocean.

 

Photo by Giorgio Taraschi/Invision Images

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Taken on August 14, 2012