Our History

The “Little Birds Project” was independently established in Bangkok in 2013 by a small group of forward thinking Thai healthcare professionals in response to the need to support orphaned teenagers and young adults living with HIV/AIDS who were rejecting the social institution settings and moving out into the world.  The young people recognized that their needs and desires were different from the individuals in the institutional settings and they yearned to make their own way in life. 

Initially made up of fifteen to twenty young people, they came together on a bi-monthly basis as a peer group to encourage friendships, safe living and compassionate care for one another. They provided the safety net for each other that previously none had had. At the time, many of these youth were sick, they hated themselves and struggled with self-esteem issues.  They felt that they were not welcome in Thai society.  

The “Little Birds,” as they began to call themselves were supported by a small professional team of social workers, counselors, HIV/AIDS specialists, therapists, teachers, and caregivers, all of whom were volunteers.  The volunteers focused their immediate efforts on the needed social education and emotional support to heal the hearts of the LIttle Birds and antiretroviral therapies and healthy living advice to heal the bodies.

As time passed the discussion began to range toward more long term needs and solutions regarding employment, accommodations, personal relationships, and more. Funds were needed to provide assistance with vocational training, continued education, childcare, hospital visits, and transportation. 

In 2015 several significant developments occurred.  The acquisition of a rental house became an important addition as it became apparent that a focal meeting place was needed for support gatherings,  workshop projects, and refuge in times of distress. By this time the number of young people involved in the group had grown to forty.  Later in the year, a critical decision making moment in 2015, the professional volunteers realized that the youth needed to develop their sense of responsibility to themselves, their fellow Little Birds, and the community at large, and so elections and a transition to a youth leadership team were undertaken.

In early 2016 another major shift was made in the Little Birds Project with the decision to reach out to other teens in the greater Bangkok. This decision for openness and inclusivity almost immediately led to contact and shared discussions with another group of HIV positive teens that had been organized on a volunteer basis by two nurses from the Thai Red Cross. The immediate synergy and shared purpose between these two groups led to the realization that finding and networking with similar groups throughout Thailand would provide strength of purpose for Little Birds as well as the other teen groups in Thailand. Thus, meetings continued throughout 2016, with two major workshops conducted in Thailand in the spring and fall of the year which included HIV positive youth from around Thailand. By the end of 2016 the Little Birds network had seven groups and over 200 young people involved. 

The next logical step forward was for a team of representatives to be selected by the groups to represent and advocate for their mutual health concerns to Thai government agencies. In March of 2017 those representatives and the professional volunteers were invited by the Ministry of Health to attend the Thai government sponsored National Aids Conference. For the first time the Little Birds youth were invited to address the conference concerning their health needs and their desire for a more responsive health system. 

Through a succession of small and sometimes hesitant steps the Little Birds Project began to emerge as its own force, successfully advancing the cause of HIV positive youth and young adults all across Thailand. Thus, the evolution of the Little Birds project culminated in 2019 with their official incorporation as a foundation and the Little Birds Youth Network Foundation was born.