In Search of Sanuk
Originally Published : December 27, 2014
As I explored and learned more about the struggles of refugees in Chiang Mai with Lisa of Thai Freedom House, I was curious to learn more. I was told about another project that deals with the issue of refugees and asylum seekers in Bangkok called ‘In Search Of Sanuk’ founded by Dwight Turner in 2008. In Search Of Sanuk gives shelter, food and education to people who have endured many forms of trauma. The organization’s name ‘in search of sanuk’ was chosen because ‘sanuk’ is a Thai word for ‘fun’ and the organization believes that fun and laughter play a large role in overcoming adversity.
The organization is divided up into three main programs: Esteem, Survivors, Thrive. Each program has a different goal and target group. The Survivors Program aims to give the basic needs to survivors of trauma from former sex workers to refugees to victims of domestic violence. This project is the base for all of the others in the organization “Providing for basic needs is not only vital to survivor’s rehabilitation, but is the foundation upon which we build the rest of our project. For example, the Esteem project for women and girls couldn’t occur without being able to provide a safe place to live and food for participants.” (In Search of Sanuk website) The Esteem Program works specifically with women to empower them and build confidence through skills training, job placements and social support. The Thrive Project was created for the educational aspect of the organization- to create an opportunity to learn for the kids to learn.
Every family comes from a different position with various challenges to overcome. The organization creates a wonderful space for them to move on from a difficult past and into a brighter future; it is very tough work, but Dwight’s diligence and commitment to this work is truly heart warming.
to learn more about In Search Of Sanuk, check out their website