Jacqueline Lee is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners’ projects throughout Southeast Asia. Her “Postcard” from the visit in Thailand:
Arriving in Ubon Ratchathani, a town on the Thai-Lao border, I was greeted by Beer, Program Director, and Cookie. I had already visited the Goodwill Group Foundation office in Bangkok with Jay and witnessed the self-defense and English classes, but now I would see services and workshops for women at the source. Here, Goodwill Group Foundation can provide trainings to increase income and self-confidence to women before they migrate to the big city, Bangkok, giving options for women to stay close to home with their families.
The program began by providing English and computer training, but now it has expanded to include personal and career development. A majority of the women in Bangkok that come to GGF are nannies and domestic cleaners. In the rural communities, many are housewives of farmers and work in the rice fields, but when farming season is over they have nothing to do.
At the GGF office in Ubon Ratchathani I was able to observe the sewing workshop and jewelry-making workshop. One of the women attending the training shared with me that she decided to join GGF in order to improve her skills and income for her family. After this, we went out to the villages and met the women and their families receiving training and support from Goodwill Group Foundation. One woman was handicapped from an accident falling from the stairs of her house and now cannot use her legs. She knits purses and wallets to sell in the community. Another woman sews masks for the field workers to protect them from the sun, and others make decorations and handicrafts in the off-season. We then joined some of the women in the rice fields - I learned so much about all the work and patience it takes planting and harvesting rice.
Goodwill Group Foundation is addressing a serious issue where women, who are the main providers of families culturally in Thailand, have to migrate to Bangkok to make a living and are put into dangerous risky situations, or just separated from their families. With the support of GGF, women can make educated decisions on the jobs they take, can take higher level jobs, and even return home with new skills learned.