My favorite stop on the trip was to Healing Family Foundation. It is a non-profit nestled in the heart of Old Chiang Mai. I ran across the place on a TripAdvisor review and knew we needed to visit. While Chris took a work call, I bundled the young folks into a van and headed out to find it.
The foundation exists to provide a sheltered workshop for adults with disabilities. The non-profit features handmade goods produced by the clients and a store to sell them in.
Once there, we realized that they were not open that day. It was a public holiday in Chiang Mai but a few people moved inside so I knocked on the door.
This wonderful man greeted us and welcomed us inside. Pradit Prechanont and his son were straightening the shop and working on loom handicrafts. As the kids looked around the store, I visited with Mr. Prechanont and learned that he started the foundation to provide a livelihood for his son.
Like all parents of special-needs children, Pradit spends what time is left after providing his son’s daily needs planning for his son’s unknown future. In Thailand, he explained, there are few social safety nets for adults with disabilities. He and other parents banded together to make Healing Family Foundation a place for their children to work, experience acceptance, and to care for themselves long after their parents have passed away.
Together they have created a place that touches your heart when you visit. Their stories and lives are compelling. Their openness to share what they know draws visitors into their experience.
Healing Family Foundation deserves a visit for the people alone, but their innovation and handiwork also impress. Sewing and weaving feature heavily in their goods. Most of the clients experience limitations in fine motor skills, so they designed a loom that can be operated by foot. Pradit’s son was kind enough to demonstrate the loom and allow me to video him.
Spending time with these wonderful people was my highlight of our Chiang Mai trip. As a parent of kids with special needs, I empathized deeply with the motivation and need for Healing Family Foundation. It was a blessing and honor to visit them. And we took home some amazing gifts as well!
You can find them at:
Healing Family Foundation
2Na Watket Rd., T. Watket, a.Muang
Chiang Mai, Thailand 50000
Their website is: http://www.hffcm.org.