Fresh back home from some volunteering ventures in South East Asia, one of my favourite destinations on the globe. I visited two not for profit organisations in Thailand in the province of Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand. The infamous Golden Triangle is not far off, known historically for opium trade, it is the place where the Myanmar, Thailand and Laos borders meet. This beautiful hilly area is inhabited by various hill tribes, many of which fled to Thailand from surrounding areas over the last 100 years during conflicts and persecution. This has left many children without any legal status in the area easy prey for traffickers, often without proper sanitation or opportunity to get an education, resulting in the need for organisations like the ones I visited.
My first destination was Rescue Mission For Children, founded in 1994 by Asa Juepoh from the Akha hill tribe. I have known Asa since I first visited the mission five years ago, her heart is to see these children have hope and a great future. More recently on the ground is Paul and Dee Evans who are currently site managers and using their horticulture skills to help make the mission more self sustaining. The mission currently has approximately 40 children being cared for and educated. The children’s joy is infectious and I managed to capture many of those smiles on camera for their media team. I joined a team from Australia of about 20 volunteers who were building a new kitchen facility, installing hot water for showers and updating the children’s curtains amongst other things.
I made a brief but memorable visit to The Little Farm, founded and run by Heidi and John Sopawanalai since 2015. Heidi and John both worked for anti-trafficking organisation Destiny Rescue before setting up The Little Farm where they care for and educate traumatised children and teenagers with a big focus on organic and self sustainable farming practices. The farm has goats, pigs, bees, ducks, chickens, a rice field, fruit trees and the young people who live there or visit are taught organic sustainable farming practices.
‘Rescue Mission For Children Part 1’
Here I interviewed the founder of ‘Rescue Mission For Children’ based in Mae Suai District, Chiang Rai province, Thailand . Asa Juepoh shares about the work she does and the program they run, rescuing children from trafficking.
Check out their website: rescuemissionforchildren.org.au
‘Rescue Mission For Children part 2’
I interview the site manager- Paul Evans who shares about the vegetable gardens they’re growing to feed their staff and children and make them as an organisation more self sustainable.
‘The Little Farm‘
Here I interview Heidi Sopawanalai, the founder of an organisation called ‘The Little Farm’. She shares about their organic farm and the program they created to support traumatised children heal and at the same time develop horticulture skills.
Check out their website: thelittlefarmthailand.com
I hope these clips gives you insight to some of the ‘on the ground’ community programs and challenges being experienced in this part of Thailand.
Nicola McClue x
Nov Blogpost. 17