Bangkok to mark Homeless Day

BANGKOK - A photo exhibition and a series of activities will be held at a public park near Bangkok's Lod Canal on Thursday to mark the annual "Homeless Day". The event is being held under the theme "Road to Friendship, Sharing and Opportunity".

"We hope it will encourage more discussions on the issue and finally lead to the enactment of a law that protects the homeless," said Natee Saravari, secretary-general of the Issarachon Foundation.

His foundation, in collaboration with the Social Welfare and Development Department's Ban Mit Maitree shelters, will also hand out food and other forms of assistance to people living on the streets at the event. Natee said he expected more than 500 people to show up.

A survey conducted last year estimated the number of homeless people in the capital at 2,846. This year, Natee said, his foundation also found more terminally ill people as well as those of the third gender and foreigners wandering the streets.

Natee said he hoped the government, the private sector and the general public would realise that they must address these issues, otherwise the problem might worsen when foreign migrants move in once the ASEAN Economic Community goes into effect in 2015.

Photographer Abhichon Rattan-abhayon, who took the pictures, said: "I asked my subjects to look right into the camera. I know their pictures cannot help the public understand their situation, but I hope they will inspire people to start addressing these issues," he said.