The Grow a Wildflower

The ingredients… a mixture of sunlight, nutrients, and a safe environment. It need not be perfect – the formula is forgiving.

Voices of Compassion, Spring 2007 Issue

In 2004, the Thailand branch of the Maryknoll Lay Missioners saw a need to expand services for vulnerable peoples in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Michael and Elizabeth Thaibinh had joined Maryknoll in 2003 and was searching for a ministry to focus on. With their background in education and helping vulnerable persons in the United States, Chiang Mai seemed like the right location. The Thaibinhs founded the Wildflower Home in 2005 as a safe space for vulnerable young women in the region, in particular young mothers.

Elizabeth Thaibinh
At The Wildflower Home, residents receive training in basic healthcare, child rearing, literacy, money management, and vocational skills. Each day is structured with meditation time, class time, and work time for the women. The children receive schooling in a different project operated on the same property, providing stability and security that has often been lacking in their lives. The living environment provides a safe, loving atmosphere for the women and their children.
Voices of Compassion, Spring 2007 Issue

Michael Thaibinh

The Wildflower Home was founded on the principle that a safe environment is necessary for personal growth. The purpose of the home was to help young women out of abusive environments where they were often undereducated and economically dependent. The Wildflower Home gave them the emotional and psychological support needed to stabilize their lives and begin to earn their own independence. Most importantly, a safe space was provided where the women could learn to value themselves and their voice.

In meetings she was given the opportunity to express her views without being ridiculed.  In this safe place she was able to blossom as she had never before been able to.
"Our Stories", The Thaibinh's Personal Newsletter on their First Graduate

By 2009, The Wildflower Home was aiding over 25 single mothers and their children a year. The Home offered vocational classes, literacy lessons, craft making sessions, cooking lessons, and so much more. The program was designed to enable a young woman to be independent and self-sufficient within a year of coming to the Home. The Wildflower Home had seen significant success in its mission by 2009, gaining support from local television programs and newspapers. Many volunteers came to the Wildflower Home, helping with the day to day operation of the home and providing day care and educational services to the women and children there. The home also employed 10 refugee men to help with constructing new buildings on the grounds, allowing the Home to further expand its services. In a midyear report on the Wildflower Home, it was anticipated that the home could be fully self-sufficient by 2013.

The Maryknoll Lay Missioners decided in 2009 that their ministry work in Thailand had been successful enough to hand over to more local organizations. The Thaibinhs were still committed to the Wildflower Home, and left the Lay Missioners in 2010 as the region was closed. They would continue to administer the Wildflower Home until 2013, where they handed the home over to the Good Shepherd Sisters. If you would like to learn more about the Wildflower Home in the present, click here.