The Trust Blog

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Gain fresh insights from Rev. Bill Crews and guest contributors.

Walking the line in Bangkok

Walking the line in Bangkok

As many of you know, through my work with homeless, abused and traffickerd children I am on the Board of Childline Thailand. I do this through my Bill Crews Charitable Trust, of which I am the founder and CEO.

Communities live along the railway line.

Communities live along the railway line.

Last Friday night my friend Ilya Smirnoff, CEO of Childline Thailand and I went for a walk amongst the slums and squatters areas of Bangkok. Eventually he led me to under a tollway and to walk along a railway line which snaked towards the port. All along the Railway line, within inches of the railway carriages which would pass by were huts, shacks, also tin and corrugated iron coverings under which were shops, laundromats, beauty shops, hairdressers; the makings of a whole economy.

We could see inside many of the buildings where hair was being done and the crates and crates of soft drink and goods for sale. As we walked along the line I could not believe how lucky I was to see this and be part of it. What I notice about this and other similar communities is the sense of connection everyone has with each other. People there feel part of something we in the west have lost to our detriment. There is a community here.

Everyone tends to look out for each other.

Everyone tends to look out for each other.

That’s not to say its all good though. As there were many kids playing, many on the railway track itself, I thought of all the toys we had and Ilya suggested that we set up a toy library so that we can keep an eye on the kids as they come to swap the toys.

Many of them contact Childline when they’re in trouble and he says we need to make sure they know where they can call. This is where we could also help by supplying old replaced mobile phones to these community members as mobile phones are really expensive here. The children ring for help because they usually want their parents to stop beating them or stop drinking.

We walked for miles and miles. My shoes got quite worn, out cut up by the rocks and the sleepers but I really enjoyed it. At the end we emerged into the crowded street markets of the Bangkok most people know.

3 Comments

  1. A very insightful article Bill … it reminded me very much of what I saw in Manila when working there several years ago. People living perilously close to train lines in very basic shacks. I didn’t find out about the community aspect in Manila and the needs of the people but it’s an image that has stuck with me for many years, living day to day close to danger with the trains using its horn and lights to clear the tracks.

    The poignant fact from Manila was that physically, it wasn’t far from some wealthy, gated communities patrolled by armed security guards.

    Reply
  2. Thanks for sharing the pictures. A real eye opener.
    So strange to see kids hanging out and sitting on the tracks.

    Reply
  3. Dear Bill, You are amazing and I think it is wonderful all that you dofor homeless and less fortunate people, you truly follow Our Dear Lord Jesus’s teachings and are a wonderful example to us all, Thankyou for sending me the information and I will be praying for the children of Thailand who have so little, take care and may God Bless you abundantly. I was hoping that you would be our Senior Australian of the Year, and so I nominated you but I think they have chosen someone else. May Our Lord be watching over you always, giving you spiritual and physical good health and may He uphold you at all times, from a faithful fan, Chris.

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