Thai Youth Action Programs which was previously known as Thai Youth Aids Prevention Project was formed in 1995 by three American college graduate students Tamar Renaud, Frances Balamuth and Jeremy Hess. The graduates created TYAP to promote young people’s participation in society and to develop their leadership skills through prevention of the AIDS epidemic in Northern Thailand.
Since 1997, TYAP has subsequently been lead by two very prominent and influential community members of Chiang Mai. With their leadership, closely formed link within the Chiang Mai community as well as the greater Thailand network, TYAP has been given the opportunity to both develop and mature it’s social outlook. From this time TYAP has broadened its working area to include the regions such as Maetang, Wieng, Haeng and Sunkampang.
TYAP since 1995 has been instrumental in the combined effort to thwart HIV/AIDS infection rates in the North of Thailand. Before TYAP sex education and aids awareness was limited and mostly misinformed. TYAP has contributed to this HIV preventative effort by focusing on working with Youth (13-24), one of the more vulnerable populations in regards to HIV/AIDs.Peer Outreach and Volunteer Training were two of the first projects to work within the preventative model for HIV/AIDS. The two projects focused on Youth based solutions to the national problem of HIV. This was done by building the capacity of Youth in the areas in and around Chiang Mai by selecting 30 peer educators who would in turn be trained on topics such as self-protective behaviour, confronting stigma and discrimination, how to increase self-esteem, raise awareness on gender roles and lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/intersex (LGBTI) issues, build peer support networks among youth, raise awareness on sexual and reproductive health.This was done in an environment that fostered active participation by the youth, having their ideas central to the learning and future outcomes. The selected 30 peer educators would then in turn run their own outreach programs in schools and communities. Since 1999 TYAP expanded its program by setting up a Youth Media project. TYAP at first conducted radio broadcasts that gave voice to the various youth issues that were present in Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand. Since 2005, TYAP also broadcasts a weekly, 50 minutes long television program on Nation Channel Chiang Mai reporting about current youth related activities as well as disclosing problems in the society, portraying the lives of marginalized youth, and reporting on the positive work Peer Educators have done in their communities. With this broadening in outlook in 2004 TYAP achieved foundation status and renamed itself Thai Youth Action Programs, a name chosen to reflect both the scope and dynamism of its activities.
TYAP continues to grow and change to adapt to the input and suggestions from Thai youth and the changing needs for the youth in Thailand. As long as Thai youth continue to be marginalized when it comes to issues of gender, sexuality, reproductive and sexual health, and sexual education, and until youth issues are discussed openly and on a large scale, TYAP will continue to provide opportunities for youth to take on responsibility, use their power, and develop their potential to address the AIDS epidemic and issues of sexuality and gender in their communities.