Thai Freedom House
I have been helped by so many people in different ways over the years. Strangers, friends and family have all contributed to my life journey and the ways in which I thrive today.
At one point in my life my husband and I seriously looked at the option of quitting our high paying, high stress jobs in the Middle East, and spending a year in Thailand working in a charity café and supporting a great cause which we had experience of first hand. That cause was Thai Freedom House in Chiang Mai.
After much soul searching we decided that we would be better able to serve the charity by continuing to use our talents elsewhere, earn money that way and support the charity with awareness raising and fundraising outside of Thailand.
Over the years that’s what we have done. We return regularly to Chiang Mai to go on health retreats and to visit the work of the Thai Freedom House, and especially to eat in their delicious Free Bird Café. I even took my mum there a couple of times. I love the relaxed atmosphere, the interesting customers and vibrant community, the fresh, flavourful and nutrient rich vegetarian dishes. They really have something special with this café and it is also a key way that funds are raised for the activities of Thai Freedom House.
Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with the founder Lisa Nesser. An American women of German and Syrian heritage, she brings her exceptionally positive and practical personal approach to continuously overcoming incredible challenges to keep her charity operating.
The decade that Lisa has been saving orphans, refugees from Burma and minority groups in Thailand from human trafficking, providing food and education, has resulted in considerable personal cost in not just her material wealth but in terms of her physical health.
Lisa has sold her home in the United States, all her possessions, lived a minimalist existence in a third world country, overcome depression, cholera, several cases of dengue fever and now struggles through the challenges of a thyroid disease. My great joy is to support women like Lisa who through personal sacrifice and service make a positive difference in the world and that I can help with health and sustainability so that they can live their life’s purpose to help others. It’s the least I can do for the huge amount of blessings and support I have received in my life and I love paying it forward.
Recently I caught up with Lisa to find out how she is and what she and the organisation need now.
Listen in to the call here:
Join me in supporting the sustainability of women who are making a huge positive difference in the lives of many.
A little help from us can help a lot.
Thai Freedom House is a non-government, not-for-profit, community learning centre in Northern Thailand. It assists refugees from Burma and members of minority groups of Thailand through:
- Providing education in Thai, English, Shan, and Burmese languages
- Providing education in the Arts
- A community resource centre with information on where to find valuable resources
- A charity donation centre which collects and distributes everyday items to needy communities
The Founder of Thai Freedom House, Lisa Nesser, has been working with minority groups since her college years in America. After being exposed to the battles that these people faced each day she was inspired her to work with other refugee groups. This led her to Asia where she volunteered in a Tibetan Refugee camp in Southern India. After three years she began working with refugees from Burma in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
In Thailand there is confusion between refugees who flee from persecution and migrant workers who seek economic benefit. Because of this confusion, refugees flee from the oppressive Burmese regime hoping to find freedom in Thailand but instead suffer through workplace exploitation, gang violence, and police harassment.
Through her work with other organisations Lisa saw a need for education for street kids in Thailand – usually the children of Refugee and Indigenous people – and decided to start her own school for them within the walls of her own home.
|I made sure to find a house with a small garden so we could teach outdoors and use the environment in our lessons. We also have a place where the kids can wash up, change into clean clothes and relax; looking through books or playing with puzzles. All of our educational toys and materials are made of natural materials such as bamboo and wood so the students feel connected to their traditional ways of life.|
This was the beginning of a three branch endeavour to make a difference in the lives of many. Committed to running the learning centre, the Free Bird Café, and the donation centre, Lisa is managing the equivalent of three full-time jobs. All the money to run the projects comes from donations from the public and money generated by the charity café.
Think, Eat, Thrive