Veteran social activist Ranee Hassarungsee passes away at 61

Ranee Hassarungsee, a wellknown women’s rights defender and social worker died today (April 5) after she accidentally fell from a ladder as she was pruning a fruit tree in the compound of her house in Nonthaburi. She was 61.

Ranee spent more than 40 years or most of her adult’s life working for the eradication of social inequality, defending women’s rights and for the betterment of the livelihood of the grassroot people and the underprivileged.  She was the driving force behind many important social issues of the country.

After graduating from Srinakharinwirot University with a major in History, she worked as a volunteer for the Thai Volunteers Service and, over the years, became a coordinator of the Coordinating Committee for Primary Health Care, coordinator of the Thai Development Support Committee, and director of the Friends for Women Foundation.

Her last position was senior coordinator of social agenda working group, Chulalongkorn University’s Social Research Institute.

In 2004 when situation in the Deep South deteriorated, Ranee was then a coordinator of the social agenda working group of Chulalongkorn University’s Social Reserch Institute and, ever since, had been responsible for a number of projects of the institute.  She was the major contributor to the institute’s Social Watch Report.

Shortly before her untimely death today, Ranee co-found the so-called Gently Aging Activist Network to  encourage social activists’ to learn about life and death.