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Queen Silvia visits Thailand for World Childhood Foundation

Queen Silvia visited Thailand earlier this week for the World Childhood Foundation and to attend The Academic Conference for the Lay Judges from the Juvenile and Family Courts of Thailand.

On Wednesday, Queen Silvia visited an elementary school in Bangkok, alongside Princess Soamsawali of Thailand, to see the work Friends International does with students. Queen Silvia also met with “Child Safe Agents” who work to help children who might need it, and representatives from One Sky, one of the World Childhood Foundation’s partners.

On Thursday, the Queen spoke at the Conference about her work, thanking the audience and organisers for “giving me the opportunity to share some of my own experiences in the field.”

“Giving [a little girl who had thanked her previously] a voice, to me means recognising her and the millions of children who, like her, are victims of child sexual abuse. Too often, still, this horrific crime is surrounded by taboos, it is silenced and remains invisible. As adults, we must dare to see it and dare to speak up. Because breaking the silence is the first and necessary step towards making positive change.”

Queen Silvia founded the World Childhood Foundation in 1999, which liaises with donors and community groups to support over 100 projects around the world that match the Foundation’s mission to “defend the rights of children and to promote better living conditions for vulnerable and exploited children at risk all over the world” focusing on “children who are victims of abuse, street children, children in alternative care, and families at risk.”

Speaking to the audience, Queen Silvia noted that Thailand has been a partner of the World Childhood Foundation from nearly the very beginning, with the first project launched in the country in 2001.

“In Thailand, we have supported children without protective families, children living and working on the streets, girls at high-risk for trafficking and exploitation, young mothers as well as children who have already experienced violence.”

The Queen then congratulated Thailand for “being a brave pioneer with the new law” that criminalises the possession of child sexual abuse material, commonly referred to as child pornography.

“Ladies and gentlemen, you all have the opportunity, and indeed the responsibility, of being a caring adult, engaging both your brain and heart for a child who has suffered abuse. You can give that child a voice.”

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