In a Field of Roses, She is a Wildflower
Good Shepherd Sisters have conducted Wildflower Home in Chiang Mai since 2013.
How the project began
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 Wildflower Home provides safe shelter, education, healthcare access, and other services to young, single mothers who are either pregnant or have young children. It also offers refuge to women seeking support and shelter from situations of poverty, domestic violence and abuse. The Thaibinhs gave the project this name because although wildflowers are beautiful, they often go unrecognized. The home recognizes the beauty and worth each mother holds, and it strives to reconnect the mother and children with their value in the world.
Handover to Good Shepherd
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 remodelled and renovated in order to incorporate more activities for the growing number of children at the home. The farm on the property has two mushroom houses and multiple greenhouses, providing a sustainable yield for the home’s meals.
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 the home feeling self sufficient and for every woman to find a job or to have the opportunity to continue their education.