This question is highly discussed among Thai citizens of all ages and backgrounds. The campaign ‘Dream Thailand’ is operated by the German Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and several partner organisations within Thailand, started as a campaign, it became a movement within the country with a great social impact.
When talking to the two inspiring project managers of the campaign, Pimrapaat Dusadeeisariyakul and Traon Pongsopon, you notice that they are passionate about their campaign and the immense impact it already created since they started it in 2012. The project provides a platform where people exchange wishes and dreams for their country and gather ideas on how that change can be implemented. The idea was born through communication between civil society leaders, politicians who were all interested in social change. They also wanted to reconnect the Thai youth to politics again.
Dreaming in three phases
The collection of people’s ideas in a certain community is based on the thought that “when people dream about having more justice, it means that currently there is none”. The process takes place according to the ‘Future search’ methodology and consists of three phases. During the first phase, you dream and write down your ideal future. As a next step, you make the ‘reality check’ and state how the current situation is. The last phase includes noting down concrete steps on what actions need to be taken to realise the dream. All the ideas, and Dusadeeisariyakul stresses that each and every idea is valuable, are gathered and put forward to authorities and institutions all over Thailand. But communication doesn’t stop here! During these three-phases-workshops, people can also decide to become ‘citizens journalists’. If they do, they get the chance to report on what happened during the dreaming process, but to also collect dreams from the community. To make these ideas more visible and tangible, reporters are accompanied by several Thai TV channels during their strolls in communities.
Great things happen when people dream
The campaign developed into a voice and platform for several provinces all round the country, their input and dreams are taken seriously. Even the Thai national reform council included the approach of dreaming for the future in their strategy. Several projects evolved from all the data gathered in the dream sessions, for example one project in a province in Thailand is now providing legal system education to a community there.
Civil society’s power
This iniative shows very impressively that civil society agents, participants and supporters are powerful and active ‘agents for change’. They are here and came to stay! In a time when governments all over the world are cutting down on funding and welfare for its citizens, it’s crucial and important to form campaigns like those ones – tackling issues that society has and generate a meaningful impact. The two project management ladies are dreaming of a more open culture of debating, and a culture that celebrates its people’s diversities – with the Dream Thailand campaign they and many others are actively working towards that dream.
Interested for more information? Watch their documentary!