Prateep Unsongtham Hata
Prateep Ungsongtham-Hata is a lotus-blossom fully opened. She was born in 1952 in the Klong Thoey Slum in Bangkok , Thailand and received a formal education of four years. After that time survival and work were her tasks. As a child she sold sweets, worked as a fireworks packer in pyrotechnics factory, and as a chipper of rust from the sides of ships. She struggled to further her education at evening classes and eventually obtained an Education Diploma from Suan Dusit Teachers’ College in Bangkok , and later a M.A. Degree in Political Science from Sukothai Thammathirat Open University in 2005.
During this period of evening academic studies, she worked for the rights of others, particularly for the impoverished in Bangkok , and founded a school for children in the slums, serving as the Principal. She has opened space in the collective conscience for the poor and oppressed to be heard. And, she was a Senator of Thailand’s First Elected Senate from 2000-2006. Prateep Unsongtham-Hata served on national committees addressing issues of urban policy and education for the poor.
She married Tatsuya Hata and and bore two children, Issara and Ming-bun, who are both students. Her parents are deceased. Tatsuya Hata is the Chief Executive Director of Shanti Volunteer Association.
In 1978 Prateep Unsongtham-Hata founded the Duang Prateep Foundation and in 1980 the Foundation for Slum Child Care. She has served in notable posts on various foundations and committees, including The Sikkha Asia Foundation, The Coordinating Committee for Slum Development, Foundation for Rural Child Development, and as a Trustee of the United Nations Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery.
Her honors/ awards read as follows: 1978 Magsaysay Award for Public Service; 1979 Outstanding Teacher of the Year, Department of Education, Thailand; 1980 John D. Rockefeller Youth Award for Outstanding Contribution to Humankind; 1989 Honorary Masters Degree, Ramkhamhaeng University, Bangkok; 2004 World’s Children’s Prize; 2004 Global Friends’ Award from Queen Silvia of Sweden.