The Baan Marina Foundation is a non-denominational, residential vocational institute run by Roman Catholic sisters, in operation in Chiang Mai for 46 years. Their vocational training program is designed to teach a profitable trade to young women from disadvantaged families, in both the mountains and lowlands, which would reduce the risk posed by human traffickers.
About 200 young women currently reside in their facilities in Phayao or Chiang Mai. The institution also operates a supervised dormitory for poor girls working or studying in Chiang Mai, for which the families pay a nominal sum.
In Baan Marina’s residences in Phayao and Chiang Mai, the young women take a 2-year course in needlework and tailoring and are also taught home economics, Thai language and culture. Following the completion of their course, they receive a Certificate of Completion as well as a Labor Dept. Certificate, an official qualification that provides them opportunities including the ability to set up dress-making shops and work overseas as trained seamstresses. Due to the quality of their training, there is a high demand for them by tailor shops and dressmakers in Chiang Mai and beyond.
In addition, Baan Marina’s program allows the women to pursue further educational opportunities. At Baan Marina women receive non-formal general education that allows them to obtain a high school equivalency certificate. Upon completion, they can also attend a 2-year vocational evening school to receive a certificate equivalent to two years of University Study. They can then choose to enter a special 2-year university program, operating on weekends, to receive their bachelor’s degree. The institution also has a collaborative agreement with the nearby Wat Phra Singh temple whereby Buddhist girls can receive dharma training there.
Our partnership with Baan Marina supports their operations and allows vulnerable women to acquire a trade and pursue higher education. The Dulabhatorn Foundation underwrites the costs of participation in the government’s non-formal education programme for about 25 of the girls and young women.
Women who were unskilled and lacked access to education are given the opportunity to master a trade and, if they choose, further their education. They retain an allegiance to Baan Marina, regarding the sisters as their advisors and support – second mothers. Recently when one of the older sisters died, several thousand alumnae participated in her funeral.