History and Activities

When Education for Development Fund (EDF) founder Terumasa Akio travelled the world in the 1980s, he was moved by the lengths Thai students went for an education, often in the face of hardship. While many families knew education was critical for their children’s future, they couldn’t afford to pay basic fees or lose someone who could help at home and in the fields. This inspired EDF’s initial fundraising efforts for Thailand, which sent 41 underprivileged students from Udon Thani to school, changing their lives forever.

Today, EDF Thailand matches donors with individual students, creating a powerful bond that propels students to success. We’ve provided over 380,000 scholarships to students in 5,500 schools across 61 provinces across Thailand.

A few students from the first group of EDF scholars, 1988


Besides our many scholarships and educational access programs, we also partner with local government offices and businesses to raise awareness about public health issues, promote technical education in areas like agriculture in schools, and take part in disaster relief efforts.

EDF Thailand is also recognized for its record of results. We were declared NGO of the Year at the Thailand NGO Awards 2012 and earned 5-star ratings in Good Governance and Transparency as well as Financial Efficiency from the Giving Back Association in 2016.


Scholarship Programs

EDF Thailand has a total of 4 scholarship programs: lower secondary, upper secondary, students with disabilities, and orphaned students from South Thailand. 100% of every donation will go directly to funding a single student through school.

Lower Secondary Scholarships

Your donation of US$65 a year helps a student attend lower secondary school for a year. This is the stage where Thai students most often encounter roadblocks to continuing their education. A scholarship changes the life of a student by:

  • Increasing their access to jobs
  • Improving their civic engagement
  • Increasing social equality as all scholarships go to underprivileged students

All lower secondary scholarship students:

  • Have completed 6th grade
  • Demonstrate a strong sense of responsibility, social awareness, and desire to learn
  • Come from a household with an annual income of US$2,000 or less
Lower Secondary Scholarship hand over Ceremony in Songkhla Province in 2017

Upper Secondary/Vocational Scholarships

Upper secondary scholars in 2017

Your donation of US$160 helps an especially promising student attend upper secondary or vocational school, which will:

  • Prepare them to represent their communities by creating policy, serving in government, or performing research
  • Promote diversity that fosters greater representation in positions of power in Thailand
  • Increase the voice of marginalized communities

In addition to meeting the qualifications for lower secondary school scholarships, all upper secondary scholarship students must also have completed 9th grade with a grade point average of at least 2.75.

Students with Disabilities Scholarships

Disabled students often face additional challenges in receiving an education. EDF Thailand’s scholarships enhance disabled students’ physical, social, and emotional development as well as their self-sufficiency.

Your donation of US$160 will support a disabled student by:

  • Increasing their access to jobs, which many disabled people in Thailand don’t have
  • Funding community training to help families and educators understand how to support disabled students
  • Building accessible infrastructure in their communities and schools

All scholarship students have demonstrated communication and learning skills and come from impoverished households.

Under the Same Sky Scholarships for Orphans of Violence

2015 Under the Same Sky scholarship hand over ceremony held in Pattani province

The three southernmost provinces of Thailand (Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat) have been the site of sustained violence since 2004. Schools have been destroyed and killings have orphaned thousands of children.

EDF’s Under the Same Sky Scholarships help children orphaned by this violence continue their education in the face of extreme adversity.

Your donation of US$160 will help a student from Yala, Pattani, or Narathiwat province whose family has lost their primary wage earner due to violence. Your support will help them receive an education and break the cycle of poverty and violence.

EDF Thailand’s Nationwide Programs

Thanks to EDF Thailand’s success in providing scholarships for individual students, we’ve expanded our work to address broad issues that impact access to education throughout the country through several programs. Our nationwide projects touch the lives of tens of thousands of children by:

  • Updating libraries by replacing old materials, renovating dilapidated spaces, and funding literacy programs
  • Narrowing the gap between urban and rural students by bringing computers and Internet access to schools without them and funding training to help both teachers and students gain critical technology skills to further their careers.
  • Helping students get to school through bicycle loan program, including bicycle safety and repair classes, decreasing their commute time or dependence on unreliable mass transit
  • Jumpstarting locally-based agriculture projects that give students the opportunity to learn valuable vocational skills
  • Bringing health professionals to communities that have little or no access to healthcare to educate people about hygiene, nutrition, and preventing common diseases
  • Rapidly responding to disasters by supporting families directly affected and partnering with other NGOs

Volunteer or Visit Thailand through EDF

Want to go above and beyond—literally? EDF has given volunteers the opportunity to work on projects in the field since 2008. Through these projects, volunteers have improved the lives of over 1,500 students.

We also offer trips that let you see the impact of EDF Thailand’s work in person. Past trips have included staying with families in the community, meeting scholarship students, and making local crafts.