The New Life Center Foundation (“NLCF”) was opened by anthropologists Dr. and Mrs. Paul and Elaine Lewis. Supported by the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society (today known as “International Ministries”) Dr. and Mrs. Lewis worked with tribal persons in Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand for forty years. Seeing multiple changes in tribal culture, and witnessing first hand the number of women caught in exploitative labor, the Lewis’s opened the first residential program of the NLCF in 1987. Rev. Lauran Bethell served as the NLCF’s first director. She was succeeded by Karen Smith, who served as the director of the NLCF until 2015.
Today, we are a legal Thai Foundation, under the executive leadership of Tiemchan Kamonklapachon, a Thai national and ethnic Karen. The foundation is currently supporting over 200 women each year through educational and residential services, vocational and life skills training, and therapeutic activities. Over the last 30+ years, the NLCF has assisted over 600 women who are survivors of sexual abuse, domestic violence and human trafficking, and countless others who were at high risk for exploitation.” We partner with the Royal Thai Government’s Department of Social Development and Human Security, assisting social workers in victim identification, interpretation, and family tracing activities. Over the last two decades our work has also been supported by U.S.AID and the Unites States government’s Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons.
I’m so glad you came to visit the New Life Center Foundation’s website. When I first came to work at NLCF in 2002, I had recently graduated from university and was just looking for a job. However, as I saw first-hand the incredible impact NLCF had in the lives of tribal women, I became more and more committed to its vision of an exploitation-free society.
Looking ahead, I see this vision becoming reality through the tenacity of our staff and the dedication of our partners around the world. We are committed to combatting human trafficking at its source, by empowering families and communities to be economically and socially resilient. If one tribal woman can change a village, then one village can change the world. We can eradicate exploitation one life at a time through education and training.
Tribal women and children live in healthy families and have access to viable economic opportunities. They integrate their tribal heritage with modern life in Thailand, and have the knowledge and confidence to access government services, health care and education for their children.
Survivors of abuse and exploitation gain the skills they need to recover from past victimization and press forward into fulfilling, self-sufficient lives. They obtain legal status and know how to advocate for their human rights.
Our graduates are healthy, vibrant women who possess the skills and confidence to create change in their lives, families and communities.
Tiemchan Kamonklapachon (Bee)
Bee came to the New Life Center in 2002, and started as an office assistant. Over almost two decades of service, she has held the roles of senior accountant, office manager, assistant director and acting director, and has a deep understanding of the organization and our context. In 2018, the Board of Directors promoted Bee to the position of Program Director. In this role, she works with the board to fulfill the NLCF’s vision and mission by overseeing administration, strategic planning, financial management and programming. She also provides consultation in organizational development to other non-profit organizations in northern Thailand. Bee graduated from Payap University with a degree in finance and banking and is a member of the Karen tribal group.
Rev. Kit Ripley
Kit has served on the NLCF Administrative Team since 2004, supported through International Ministries of the American Baptist Churches, USA. She assists with reporting, guest relations and promotional materials, does staff development and training and facilitates therapeutic art classes. Kit holds a Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary and was ordained in 2002. She is currently pursuing a master’s in clinical mental health counseling with a specialization in art therapy.
In her capacity as clinical social worker and Chiang Mai branch manager at NLCF, Wandee has provided comprehensive case management for trauma survivors since 2006. She is the senior liaison between the NLCF, state and private organizations, survivors and their families. She is also a tireless advocate for citizenship and human rights through her collaborative work with the Legal Status Network. In 2016, Wandee was recognized by Robinson’s Department Store for her advocacy for women’s rights in Thailand. She holds a B.A. in Education and is an ethnic Karen.
Rev. Jeni Pedzinski
Jeni is an American Baptist missionary who has been serving as a senior administrator at NLCF since 2015. With degrees in international development and Christian theology, Jeni provides administrative support, Christian discipleship and financial literacy training to NLCF staff and program beneficiaries.
Waraporn Wimonsuksuwan (Faye)
Faye is an ethnic Lahu and has served with the NLCF since our founding over three decades ago. As a senior member of the administrative team, she has served in public relations and networking, residential program coordination, family tracing and repatriation, citizenship advocacy and anti-trafficking. She also serves as an on-call language interpreter for various governmental agencies. In 2015, she received an award from the Governor of Chiang Mai for her “Excellent Contribution to National Social Welfare”. Faye has a bachelor’s in Educational Psychology.
Nara has been the branch manager of NLCF’s Chiang Rai branch since 2016, providing case management and oversight for residential staff and programming. She also directs NLCF’s anti-trafficking campaign and community development projects. Nara has a Bachelor’s degree in Bible and Theology and is a prominent evangelist within the Akha tribal community. She is also a vocalist with the Bangkok Milal International Choir and plays the bagpipes.
Do you see me?
In this video, you’ll learn all about New Life Center. Listen to a bit of narrative history, meet our first tribal Thai director, and hear a real case story of a New Life Center resident. If you’re passionate about ending exploitation, abuse, and human trafficking and you or your group would like to get involved with our work, contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or click on the contact page above.