Thailand has a population of 60 million people, 10 percent of whom live in Bangkok. Nearly 20 percent of those live in slums. Other major urban centres such as Pattaya and Chiang Mai also have growing slum populations. Slums are where many poor migrants from the countryside settle when they migrate to Bangkok and the other large towns in search of work. The slum dwellers are illegally occupying land owned by others as they have no other alternative. They come impoverished to the city and they need a place to live, where they can build a ramshackle shack out of other people’s waste material. Bangkok and other towns need low-paid workers and without adequate public housing it is inevitable that these workers and their families will settle in slums, which are affordable places of residence.
Klong Toey Slum where the Duang Prateep Foundation is located is Bangkok’s largest slum community with some 80,000 residents. The slum is on land owned by the Port Authority of Thailand. Originally slum dwellers settled on the port land as they helped with the construction of the port in the early nineteen fifties. They then stayed to work as manual labourers at the port. Still today many Klong Toey Slum dwellers work at the Bangkok Port or for shipping companies that have their offices in the area.
Klong Toey Slum is a long-standing slum with a well-established community organization. This has enabled the slum to develop more than many other slums and now most of the wooden walkways have been replaced by concrete paths and the majority of the houses have electricity and mains water supply … //
… In any case, many of the children had no birth certificates. This effectively barred them from going to state schools. Added to this, the slum people’s houses had been built unofficially and were not registered. Legally, they could be evicted at any time. With no outside help, it eventually became clear that if slums were to be improved, they would have to be improved from within, by the people who lived in them.
Introduction to Thailand: … (full long text).