Birth and Early Childhood Development

Coordinator: Lisa Nesser

Support staff/volunteer: Fluctuates based on volunteer involvement

To provide a safe, clean and engaging space for mothers with children up to toddler age. Our professionally run workshops and classes aid early child development by addressing topics such as stress management, stages of childhood development, health and hygiene for mother and baby and healthy relationships for all family members. Members of the community and extended family members often visit this space to interact with each other, give advice and spend unobstructed quality time together.

Target Group
New mothers who are unable to work because they are breastfeeding or caring for a small child. Particularly those who live on construction sites in unsanitary and dangerous conditions.


1 Mother’s Circle
The Mother’s Circle provides a safe space for mothers to bathe and play with their infants. There are safe, clean toys and learning and teaching materials. The mothers there take care of each other’s babies and their own. Family members visit and play with the newborns, lending their help, advice and moral support.This is NOT a drop off center or day care—mothers must attend with their own children.

2 Resources and Tools
We provide basic sanitary equipment such as towels, baby wash, a little tub, skin ointments and other first aid care and we have many safe toys made of natural materials to entertain the young ones. Volunteers attend the Mother’s Circle to give sessions on early childhood development training: developing motor skills, teaching the mothers inspirational and engaging activities to do with their children, songs to sing, and books to read to aid their children’s early education and development.

3 International involvement
There is space for the International community of mothers in Chiang Mai to be involved in this project, as international children can attend and play with the refugee children. This leads to excellent intercultural interactions, and to international parents donating their no longer used children’s clothing and equipment to the Mother’s Circle.

4 Training
We run a doula training workshop. A doula assists mothers in labor with massage and breathing exercises, offering moral support at home afterwards by preparing traditional steams and healthy food while they are recuperating from giving birth. Our training is translated into Shan, so that the women know how to assist other mothers in the birthing process. This training is important as giving birth in Thailand is often a very difficult process for Shan mothers as they are subjected to racism and unfair treatment in Thai hospitals. It can also be very lonely since they are usually removed from extended family members and elders who would traditionally fill this role.

Ongoing/Current needs
Volunteers that are professionals in the Early Childhood Development, Health and Nutrition, Safety and First Aid fields to lead workshops for our mothers. Funding for future trainings.

At the moment, we have no budget or support for this project. We use the existing facilities of TFH and donated items from the community.

Future projects/Aspirations
We would love to employ and train a part or full time staff member from the local community who can do outreach work, bringing this information into our off-site communities such as construction worker camps and local slums. They would provide much needed training on safety, early childhood development and provide basic health check ups on infants and mothers at home. This would require translation services, printed materials and a mobile kit for demonstrations.