the artisans

suey

Suey is from the Tai Yai (Shan) ethnic group – originally from Burma – but has lived in Thailand for many years. Suey became a Thai Village manager in 2016 and oversees all sewing training and production. She has a powerful testimony, as she was trafficked at a young age, managed to gain her freedom, learned about God, and became a Christian. Suey loves to share what God has done in her life with others to encourage them. She also loves to introduce those in need of vocational training to Thai Village.

Watch’s Suey’s story here

sewing manager

nat

 

Nat is the mother of two and is from a rural Hmong village in Tak Province in Northwestern Thailand. Nat participated in sewing training and joined the Thai Village team full-time in 2018. She has quickly learned how to sew purses, dolls, and various home decor. Nat openly tells her story of how her husband’s suicide and the difficult circumstances that followed pushed her to learn more about God. She became a Christian in 2018 and often shares with others how she has been changed from the inside. She says: “I want everyone to know, we all need someone to rely on in times of trouble – God is the one we can rely on.”

sewing 

maynee

Maynee is from Saraphi in Northern Thailand. She joined the Thai Village team in 2019 after working as a hairdresser and hearing there was an opening at Thai Village as a seamstress. She is creative, fun, and enjoys cooking good meals in the evening with her husband.

sewing 

janaeng

Janaeng is from the Hmong ethnic group and lives in a village outside of Chiang Mai with her husband and children. Janaeng has been hand-stitching fabric since she was a young girl. She participated in a Thai Village vocational training and has now become an expert in hand-stitching figurines which are used in the Thai Village nativity sets, Noah’s ark sets, and Thai dolls. Her husband serves as the Pastor of a Hmong Christian church on the side of a mountain in a rural village where they work as farmers in their spare time. Janaeng has trained other women in her village to make nativity sets while also taking care of her energetic toddler at home.

stitching

may

May is from the Karen ethnic group, originally from a small rural village in the mountains of Northern Thailand. May joined the Thai Village team as a manager in 2014. She oversees all the training and production of tin-smithing, jewelry, and weaving, and helps with the design of jewelry and weaving projects. May became a Christian as a child, and her faith is evident in her compassion towards each artisan that comes into Thai Village, her care for what is going on in their lives, and her gentle way of encouraging each one. May is married and has one daughter.

Watch May’s story here

jewelry tin leather manager

kham

Kham is from the Karen people group and is known for her hard work and soft temperament. Kham is always smiling when she enters the Thai Village building to bring in her jewelry projects and train on new designs. She raises her two young daughters and works multiple jobs to support them on her own.

jewelry

oon

Onn is from the Tai Yai (Shan) ethnic group, originally from Shan State in Northern Burma. Onn started working with Thai Village when she was pregnant with her first child and needed extra income. A quick learner and eager to learn new skills, Onn has since trained on many new designs and has excelled in each and every one. Today, Onn is the single mother of two boys and is working hard at multiple jobs to support her young family. She enjoys being creative with her hands and has stated that she wants to be a designer someday. Her Thai Village work allows her to create from home and take care of her young boys.

paperwork & stitching

tian

Tian was born and raised in Central Thailand but moved north to Chiang Mai city to pursue work. Tian has dabbled in many vocations in her lifetime in a variety of fields. She first learned about Thai Village when she saw a woman stitching a Thai doll while sitting in a hospital waiting room. She was drawn to learn more about this handicraft work and immediately signed up for a vocational training session. Now, Tian works with Thai Village and is happy to be a part of our welcoming community. She has learned many new hand-sewn designs and relies on this work as her livelihood. Tian began attending church a few years after taking vocational projects from Thai Village.

stitching & sewing

sudkaet

Sudkaet grew up in Eastern Thailand, near the Gulf of Thailand and the Cambodian border. As a young Buddhist man, Sudkaet earned a degree in art and architecture and worked on the architectural details of Buddhist temples in Bangkok. In 1999, he learned about Jesus through Nuut, a Thai Village manager, and he became a Christian. His passion now is to disciple new believers and to see Thai people come to know God. Sudkaet is an accomplished designer, painter, woodworker, and architect with vast experience and a varied skill set. He serves Thai Village as a woodworking manager and skills trainer.

woodworking & training

eet

Eet began working with Thai Village in 2014 after attending a TVI skills training. He quickly picked up the basics of tin-smithing and now regularly produces Christmas ornaments for Thai Village. Through Eet, his sister and other members of his village heard about Thai Village and have begun learning skills in stitching and sewing as well.

tinsmithing

phong

Phong first came to Chiang Mai from a small rural Hmong village on the border of Burma. Phong came to the city as a teenager for special medical treatment and to finish his secondary education. He attended a Thai Village vocational training in tin-smithing and quickly picked up the basics. Now, Phong is supporting himself through tin-smithing projects and has become an expert in his handicraft field, regularly producing Christmas ornaments, plaques, and jewelry for Thai Village. Phong also helps to lead vocational training sessions for other men in Northern Thailand who are interested in learning about metalworking.

tinsmithing

mhee

Mhee is an evangelist who serves in many ways. He has designed and handcrafted the Thai Village tin ornaments as well as several beautiful jewelry products for Thai Village. He is supporting himself and his family by making tin ornaments for Thai Village. He says, “Even though I didn’t serve full time, everything we do is to serve God too (John 6: 29).”

tinsmithing & jewelry

nuut

Nuut is from the big and bustling capital city of Bangkok and came to Northern Thailand originally to study art at Chiang Mai University. Nuut joined the Thai Village team in 2011 as a product designer. She began serving as a production manager in 2012, leading vocational skills training and developing artisan groups. A fine art graduate, Nuut is the creative brains behind most of our products. These days, she continues to design new products – each of which are then able to be used to help generate income for those in need of a job. Nuut is married to Tuum who also serves in the local church.

product designer & manager

dao

Dao is from the Tai Yai (Shan) ethnic group, originally from Shan State in Northern Burma. Dao is a hard-working mom with a contagious laugh. It is obvious when she is nearby because she is always laughing and bringing joy to others. Dao learned about Thai Village through a friend in her community. She had never sewn before but was interested in learning, so she attended a vocational training and quickly picked up sewing. She is now a talented seamstress who works from home on Thai Village sewing projects in order to provide for her three kids. Dao is also an excellent cook and helps make community meals at Thai Village.

stitching

bey

Bey is a Karen woman who comes from Chiang Rai province in Northern Thailand. She and the women in her family have grown up weaving traditional Karen loom patterns in bags, scarves, belts, bracelets, and other home décor. They are thrilled to be able to provide income for their family and the next generation through using their traditional art form.

weaving

belah

Belah and her family come from the Karen people group on the border of Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son province where loom weaving is a traditional pastime. These intricate Karen weaving patterns take many hours to complete. Belah and her sisters have multiple looms in their home that help provide income during the low season for farming.

weaving

rung

Rung is a Hmong woman who excels in creating traditional Hmong embroidery patterns that have been passed down for generations. She shares her cross-stitching projects from Thai Village with others in her hometown while also raising her daughter and working a full-time job to support her family.

stitching

pring

Pring grew up in a Hmong village on the top of a famous mountain in Chiang Mai. Pring was Thai Village’s first full-time seamstress. With a vocational degree in sewing, Pring formerly managed the sewing department, and now is an assistant manager of operations. She is married to Pastor Wang and they have one son, a rambunctious toddler named “Blessing.” Pring has an entrepreneurial spirit and hopes to open her own clothing shop one day.

assistant operations manager

jade

Jade is from Southern Thailand and has worked with Thai Village since 2009. Jade oversees our home-visitation outreach programs, human resources, payroll, legal, and the translation of documents. She grew up in the far south of Thailand in a Buddhist family and became a Christian after an English camp during her last year of studies at a university in Chiang Mai. Since then, she says, God has taught her many things. Jade enjoys praying prayers of intercession and thanksgiving for others and God has used her as a prayer warrior to bless many people.

director’s assistant

taeng

Taeng is a man who always seeks to serve and frequently is the first to ask “how can I help?” Taeng has been working with Thai Village in the packaging department since the beginning of our formation as an organization. He is an accomplished musician who came out with his own CD several years ago. He also serves with our partner organizations as a worship leader and is currently pursuing a BA in Theological studies.

packaging leather tin

wang

Wang is the pastor of our local partnership church who serves Thai Village as a church liaison. He is responsible for leading joint outreach events, Bible studies for staff, and part of our home visitation team. With gifts in playing the guitar, sharing the gospel, and in leading fun and exciting games, he is a valuable addition to our team. His full time job is as the pastor of Promise Lutheran Church in Chiang Mai.

church liasion

the support team

liz

Liz is responsible for the conception and formal organization of Thai Village. She grew up in Taiwan and Thailand and, after graduating from university in the USA, returned to Thailand. She began working with WELS Kingdom Workers in 2003, at which time she began to develop Thai Village as a separate self-sustainable organization. This grew out of a desire to reach out to local people and encourage them in their natural and culturally significant handicraft skills, as well as to see them earn much-needed income through the application of these skills. Liz has a BA in Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies, an MA in Field Linguistics, an MBA in International Business Administration, and graduate certificates in Social Entrepreneurship, Growth for Private Businesses, and Non-Profit Leadership Management. She currently directs the operations of Thai Village in Thailand.

executive director, thailand

katie

Katie joined Thai Village in 2007 when she accepted a WELS Kingdom Workers position in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She has since become a key player in the day-to-day aspects of running Thai Village by managing craft production, designing products, and handling all shipping and special orders. She enjoys being a part of a team that is involved in the lives of local people in Thailand and connects others to their work. Katie has a BA in Psychology and Music and professional certificates in Community Health Education, Foundations and Principles of Holistic Ministry, Principles and Practices of Christian Microfinance and Micro-enterprise Development, and Faith, Philanthropy, and Change.

operations manager, thailand

cheryl

Cheryl joined our team in 2018 and is working part-time in the areas of inventory, sales, training, and communications. Her heart is to help make our systems more efficient and communicate with more people so we can maximize our impact for Jesus and those we serve. Cheryl brings with her many years of cross-cultural experience in South America and Asia including four years with other social enterprises in India. She holds a BA in Geography and a postgraduate diploma in Biblical and Cross-cultural Studies. Cheryl is British married to an American, Tyler and they have 3 children who attend school in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

database & systems manager, thailand

jessie

Jessie accepted a role at Thai Village in 2018 to work on graphic design, product development, and photography. She spent the past three years working in China and came to appreciate Thai Village’s work through yearly retreats in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Although she originally pursued a degree in design, her passion for the people and the nations brought her overseas. The work at Thai Village brings together her desire to serve people, create sustainable art, and, most importantly, encourage others in their walk with God.

designer, thailand