Thai women in cross-cultural marriages unite to tackle the challenge of widowhood

Photo courtesy of ASEAN Now

For Thai women residing in Germany, the abrupt demise of a German spouse plunges them into a bewildering maze, especially when language differences compound the already overwhelming grief of widowhood.

The Thai Women Network in Europe (TWNE) recently took the initiative to address this dire situation, organising a two-day event in Hua Hin.

Chongcharoen Sornkaew Grimsmann, former president of TWNE, highlighted the gravity of the situation, stating that the event aimed to fortify social volunteers’ capabilities in assisting widowed Thai women. With Hua Hin’s unique international community and a plethora of multinational marriages, it served as the ideal backdrop for the event.

The focus of the event was threefold: fostering collaboration among those aiding Thai women, sharing personal experiences to shape future support strategies, and establishing networks with local organisations. Hua Hin Today spoke to key figures, shedding light on the profound impact of TWNE’s efforts.

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One glaring theme that emerged was the lack of preparedness many women face after the death of a foreign spouse. Legal and administrative knowledge gaps, coupled with insufficient financial planning, leave these women in a vulnerable position. The TWNE’s message underscores the importance of open communication between spouses, particularly concerning legal and financial matters.

Cross-cultural marriages add an extra layer of complexity, necessitating effective communication and mutual understanding. The network recognises cultural barriers in discussing sensitive topics like death, urging the importance of cultural understanding and trust in these conversations.

Thai widows abroad

Sonthariya Netirungsiwatchara, chief of the international cooperation group, Department of Women’s Affairs and Family Development, explained the department’s mission to develop the potential of Thai women both in Thailand and abroad. With over ten years of collaboration with Thai networks in Europe, the department focuses keenly on addressing the challenges faced by widowed or retired Thai women living abroad.

In choosing Hua Hin as the event location, the organisers aimed to involve local authorities, including Hua Hin Municipality and the Provincial Social Development Agency. Thai women often encounter legal challenges, particularly following the death of their foreign spouse, due to a lack of legal knowledge. The TWNE provides a crucial bridge, offering assistance through the Thai Women’s Network in Europe, reported Hua Hin Today.

The TWNE recommends three proactive steps for Thai women in international marriages: effective communication, basic legal understanding, and building trust. Sermsee Boonsoot advises foreign spouses to comprehend their Thai partners’ perspectives and cultural nuances, fostering a harmonious relationship.

Hua Hin NewsThailand News

Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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