New Skills & Newfound Freedom in Thailand
Thunyanun Yajom is a prison officer and the manager of a woman’s massage center run by ex-prisoners in Chiang Mai. The project is run under the title, “dignity network foundation”. During her 17 years as a prison officer, she came to understand what the main challenges were for those women once they were released from jail. The main problem they faced was finding work again. In order to help them reintegrate with society once released, I opened a massage center in Chiang Mai where ex-prisoners who passed their massage certification in prison, could find work.
This center is extremely important as firstly, these women can make a living, support their family and stay out of trouble. Secondly, they discover a community who accepts them, they form friends who don’t judge them or push them away. While working they retain 50% of each massage taking. The remainder is used to expand the social business and help more women.
The first massage center opened in 2014, by 2015, three massage centers were running to increase the capacity for these women in vocational rehabilitation who need practical support. The staff are managed and supported by a team of professionals, while gradually incorporating the rehabilitated women into managerial positions as the project grows.