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 43 years of working with rural communities

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"They saw the town, saw the poverty of the villages and the poverty of the huge 35,000 populated refugee camp.

They saw it was ideal for a second foundation of the congregation in Thailand and they were right!

This is indeed an ideal location where there is a crying need for the work of the Good Shepherd."

 (Fr Theile - parish priest Nong Khai 1980 during investigative visit by GS sisters)

NB:  Slideshow is of the first 40 years - made for the 40th anniversary. Click below for music.

'They understood the pressures on rural families in trying to satisfy their most

basic needs.'

In 1981 the Good Shepherd Sisters came to Nongkhai, in the northeast of Thailand.








Having worked in Bangkok since 1965 with the women who had migrated to the city from the rural areas, they understood the pressures on rural families in trying to satisfy their most basic needs. It was clear to the Sisters that these people, disadvantaged in so many ways, had no choices available to them. Lacking an education or training of any sort, employment opportunities were limited.


Working at first in the border camps in Nongkhai, they had a good understanding of the local people and after the closure of the camps, began implementing development projects. To this day, these have been a source of empowerment, improving the quality of life for all involved.

​Over the years, the Good Shepherd Sisters have implemented:

  • Village Vocational Training Centre  - An alternative agricultural training programme for farmers. Facilities also used by external groups for community development.  (established 1986)  Re-purposed in 2020 as the Sufficiency Learning Centre.

  • The Regina Women’s Self-help Project, comprised of one centre in the town and two in the  villages, where women were taught to sew and do hand work and receive employment.  (established 1984,1994, 2002) *

  • The Isan Weaving Centre, where women learned the traditional methods of cotton fabric production. (established 1998) *

  • The Isan Pottery Centre, where young  men and women learned the skills of pottery production. (established 1998) *

  • Child & Youth Development Programme : 600+ children and youth assisted annually, to attend school and further their education. Development of youth leaders. (Begun 1984 as Children's Sponsorship Programme))

  • Village Outreach Programmme – home visitation of the sick and isolated. Support services of HIV/Aids patients and their  families.

    • Under this programme:

      • The establishment of the Friendship Centre in 2001  

      • Hands of Hope card making project for those living with HIV/AIDS (established in 2005)

      • Garden of Friendship residential care project  (established 2008)  

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Sr Mary Hayden

Founding member of the Nong Khai Community.

19.9.1919 - 30.7.17

* Project closed in recent years

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