SERVE have one significant partner in Thailand, the Good Shepherd Sisters. SERVE support projects in four diverse locations in Thailand – Pattaya, Nong Khai, Phuket and Chiang Rai.
Regina Centre, Nong Khai
The Good Shepherd Sisters began working in Nong Khai in 1981 to help improve living conditions and provide better employment opportunities for rural communities. The Good Shepherds now run a number of development projects in the Nong Khai area:
• Village Vocational Training Centre (VVCT) – provides training to poor farmers through residential seminars teaching alternative methods of agriculture, leadership training and the establishment of Village Savings Groups
• Regina Women’s Centres – provide training and employment for up to 200 young women, learning handiwork and sewing in Nong Khai and the villages of Huai Sai and Don Wai. The families have the opportunity to provide for their families and further their own education. Over 100 others, who care for young children, are offered work to do in their homes. Sales of finished items are sold overseas.
• Isan Weaving – promotes the traditional and locally practiced process of weaving
• Isan Pottery – local clay is used for the production of wheel turned pieces which are intricately designed and hand painted
• Village Outreach – social, medical, nutritional, educational, occupational and financial assistance is provided to villages. Increasing numbers of HIV/AIDS infections has also led to the establishment of the Friendship Centre which provides support and income generation opportunities for those with HIV/AIDS
SERVE has supported residential training programmes, skills training programmes for women in the Regina Centre and improvements in the physical infrastructure of the Nong Khai project.
Fountain of Life Centre, Pattaya
The Fountain of Life Women’s Centre is a centre for marginalised women who are exploited by the sex tourism industry in Pattaya. The Centre is run with the strong belief that empowerment is key to allow these women to become agents of their own transformation. This is done by teaching languages and skills training to the women. The skills training courses include – hair dressing, massage, sewing and computers. Women also benefit from life skills training and seminars on HIV/AIDS, trafficking and sex tourism. The Centre also has a significant outreach programme to women trapped in prostitution. Women can avail of counselling and support at the Centre and will be referred for further medical care if necessary.
SERVE have helped fund vital staffing costs that contribute to the delivery of the excellent skills training services.
Good Shepherd Youth Centre, Chiang Rai
The Good Shepherd Youth Centre in Chiang Rai provides residential education to approximately 60 Hilltribe girls. The girls of the Youth Centre come from tribes who live in the mountains in the Chiang Rai area, and who are treated as second class citizens in Thailand. These tribes historically came from surrounding countries and retained their own customs and languages. As they are often unable to speak Thai they cannot sit official examinations which drastically reduce their chances of dignified employment. As a result, young girls and women from these Hilltribes are very vulnerable to human trafficking and countless numbers have been forced to work in Pattaya and Bangkok in the sex industry.
To tackle this problem the Good Shepherd Youth Centre takes young girls from the Hilltribes, with the permission of their parents, and provides them with residential education in the town of Chiang Rai. The young girls will stay with the Youth Centre for a number of years until they complete secondary level education. They are then encouraged to go onto third level education with the support of the Chiang Rai Youth Centre. The girls are also given vocational training and life skills training to prepare them for dignified independent living and allow them to break out of the cycle of poverty into which they are born.
SERVE have contributed funding to develop new toilet and washing facilities, and a new classroom in the education facility.
The Good Shepherd Center for Women and Children Rehabilitation and Development, Phuket
Human trafficking is an international problem. A global survey on human trafficking conducted by United Nations in 2006 found that human trafficking in Asia is alarming and Thailand is one of the countries ranked top in Asia and the world. Most trafficking victims are forced to be prostitutes, beggars and labourers.
Phuket has a problem with a high risk of human trafficking due to rapid economic expansion of tourism with so many entertainment venues. This development has attracted large numbers of people moving in to find jobs. The Good Shepherd Sisters have been working in Thailand since 1965 with the first home in Bangkok providing temporary shelter to victims of trafficking set up in 1968.
Later, it has extended its work to 4 more areas in Nongkhai, Pattaya, Chiangrai and Phuket with the objective of helping migrants who are victims of human trafficking, abandoned mothers and infants and young girls who are experiencing great difficulties in life. It provides non-formal education and vocational training to street children, women sex workers, young ethnic girls and people living with HIV/AIDS. The Good Shepherd Sisters are developing a project in Phuket to empower women and children to address the problem of human trafficking.
All SERVE volunteers working in Thailand will be involved in teaching English to both students and staff of the various centres. Other volunteer functions may include
– Chef – teaching the girls how to cook with the view of selling.
– Marketing – assisting in all aspects of marketing of fair trade products.
– Designer / Graphic designer – create new products / designing new brochures etc.
– Nurse – Travel between villages. Experience / knowledge of HIV/AIDS treatment desired
– Project proposal writers
For more information, read:
>> SERVE Volunteer Role Profiles
>> SERVE’s Development Work in Thailand
If you are interested in financially supporting this project in Thailand we would be very grateful of any donation you can make.
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- Education Programme
- Teaching English
- Outreach to Women involved in prostitution
- Teaching computer Skills
- Income Generation Project
- Informal education with hill tribe
Thai – blossoming translator at health outreach, Phuket Thailand
Other Areas We Volunteer in