I had the honour of being selected by Photographers Without Borders to go visit the Raintree Foundation in Chiang Mai, Thailand last November. My job was to photograph and document the amazing efforts of this special organization and be able to capture their story and how they help their local communities.

The Raintree Foundation’s main mission is to help children by providing them with access to meals, clean water, education and a safe and loving home environment. Through their foster programs and their beautiful children’s homes they built and manage themselves, children are given better lives and the tools to help themselves as they get older.

The main contact who runs the Raintree Foundation in Chiang Mai is Thomas Singer. Thomas is from Germany and was traveling in Thailand with a friend over a decade ago when they noticed a call for volunteers for the Raintree Foundation at the hotel they were staying at in Chiang Mai. Thomas and his friend signed up to help and eventually decided to stay awhile in Thailand and continue working with Raintree. His friend ended up staying for a long time but Thomas decided to stay indefinitely. 

I had the amazing opportunity of going with Thomas and his team all over northern Thailand to meet other amazing Raintree staff, the children who are a part of their foster programs and the children who live in their children’s homes. It was a life changing experience and something I will never forget. The people I met will always have a special place in my heart and I hope I get to see them all again soon.

It’s hard to put into words what it’s like to travel somewhere by yourself and have an experience that only you can understand. I think about my time in Thailand a lot and miss the staff and children very much. They welcomed me like I was one of their own and left a huge impact on me. I talk to a few of the staff still and am grateful to call them my friends. And lucky me – I’m going back to Thailand in February to shoot Thomas’ wedding! Can’t wait for that!

Lastly but most importantly, a HUGE thank you to all my clients, friends and family members who gave to this cause either financially or emotionally – you made this trip happen! I am eternally grateful for your love and support and can’t put into words how appreciative I am.

If you’d like to donate to the Raintree Foundation or learn more about their efforts, please visit their website https://www.raintree-foundation.org

You can also check out their social enterprises Tube Thailand and Karen Coffee.

Enjoy some of my favourite images from my trip below!

Erin xo