Company team member
The ancient city of Chiang Mai is located in the beautiful mountainous region of northern Thailand. While a popular tourist destination, women in the region face a range of challenges due to high rates of gender inequality and gender-based violence, with over 40 percent of women in the region experiencing the latter in their lifetime. Due to conservative, traditional practices and beliefs, many women do not have access to education or adequate healthcare and are limited in their employment opportunities.
The Wildflower Home Foundation, run by Sister Anurak Chaiyaphuek and the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, is working to improve this situation by providing vulnerable and marginalized single mothers and their children with a safe, healing, and communal environment to recover and be comforted.
The Home is open to all young women in crisis, offering them opportunities to pursue education, as well as access to healthcare and much-needed emotional support. The aim is to equip vulnerable young women with a range of skills to restore their self-respect and self-sufficiency. It is a home full of love, support, and security.
The Wildflower Home began in 2005 as an outreach ministry of the Maryknoll religious order. Elizabeth and Michael Thaibinh were lay missionaries and began their mission work in Thailand in 1994. The Maryknoll mission eventually saw that the programs in Thailand were stable and could be run by local leaders, so they moved on with their order to other places of need. The Maryknoll order withdrew from Thailand, but the Thaibinhs continued with the Wildflower Home until they felt it was in secure hands.
The Thaibinhs had to return to the United States because of the education of their children. They wanted an NGO with experience in this ministry to take over the project. They consulted with the Bishop of the Chiang Mai Diocese, Bishop Francis Vera, and he strongly recommended that this work be continued by the Good Shepherd Sisters and their lay Mission Partners.
On 8 June 2013, the official handover of the project took place. Bishop Francis Vera, the Thaibinhs, the Good Shepherd Sisters, and the staff were present for this ceremony. Sr. Michelle Lopez, then Province Leader, accepted the project on behalf of the Good Shepherd Sisters.
The Good Shepherd Sisters have continued to support and grow this project into what it is today. The Wildflower Home has expanded in size and will continue to do so as a new home for mothers will open up on the property soon. The daycare is being remodeled and renovated to incorporate more activities for the growing number of children living at our home. The farm on the property has two mushroom houses and multiple greenhouses, providing a sustainable yield for the home’s meals and commercial activities.
Women at the Wildflower Home are provided with many opportunities, such as sewing classes, handicraft learning, basic law classes, English courses, and more. The goal of the Wildflower Home is for all women to leave our shelter feeling self-sufficient and for every woman to find a job or to have the opportunity to continue their education.
The Wildflower Home ensures the children of these women receive complete education, with those under four years of age being cared for in the Home’s daycare center while the older ones go to school daily. This allows mothers the opportunity to receive the individual care they so desperately require. The Sisters work hard to ensure both mother and child experience the love of Jesus Christ by sharing with them the importance of prayer, caring for others, and practicing self-care for themselves.
When it comes time for the women and their children to leave the Home, the Sisters work to ensure they enter a supportive and loving community where they can continue flourishing.
The support of Catholic Mission through the Society for the Holy Childhood allows the Wildflower Home Foundation to continue providing this vital care, as funding allows for the purchasing of food and water, medical necessities, education costs, paying of staff, general maintenance of the facilities and the development of a farm and other income-generating projects in the future.
Counseling and therapeutic support to heal the mind
Help to understand both Thai and English language
Skill development and career promotion
Child care skills
Support for subsistence with sufficient agricultural goods
Organic farming knowledge
Being located in the countryside allows Wildflower Home to empower women who are part of the rural tribes from which they come by encouraging them to live closer to nature through work. With organic farming and sustainable agricultural culture, women have the opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and experiences that are not only beneficial to the Wildflower Home but also help communities where they will eventually return to the shelter.