The Mirror Foundation

Firefighting team looking at drone survey
We are The Mirror Foundation, Chiang Rai. Mirror has two other locations, Bangkok and Chiang Mai - links to their websites can be found in the Weblinks list on the left side of this page.

Mirror Chiang Rai was established in 1999, about 8 years after the Mirror Art Group began. The name was changed to The Mirror Foundation in 2004 after it gained NGO status.

The Mirror Art Group was begun by a group of Bangkok university students who used art, drama, music and dance, to promote their social awareness campaigns. These campaigns were a series of performances about various social issues, and the group travelled around the country setting up their shows in local Thai communities. The opportunity to network and learn from other NGOs was taken during this period as well, and many new friends were made along the way.

6F13D4F1 0DFC 41B5 93AF 61FEDE72051D 1 105 cBy 1999 a number of the group wished to put down roots, partly to learn whether their work could have a long term effect on communities. A piece of land was bought near Ban Huay Khom (Mae Yao sub-district, City district, Chiang Rai province), and the group spent six months living under canvas while they built their communal home.

During this period the group met and interacted with local communities, and began to realise that the ethnic minority groups in the area had more pressing issues than the mainstream Thai people. Most issues stemmed from the problem of statelessness - living in the country, but without being a citizen and therefore having very few rights. Without citizenship, education and work is very limited with many hurdles to overcome. It also causes a lot of social issues, such as poverty, drug use, criminal activities, exploitation, and human trafficking.

The group began working closely with these communities and developed a number of projects to assist them. You can find these in the Closed projects section of this website.

The team expanded its staff, recruiting local youth from various ethnic backgrounds (Akha, Lahu, Lisu, Hmong, Pa Ka Yaw) to help with the projects. The plan was to empower the young people who could then re-energise their communities and improve daily life.

F64C7448 EFAA 4099 AE8C 70760CDCCCB4 1 105 cHelping stateless people to gain citizenship was a core project for nearly a quarter of a century, working directly with individuals, networking with other NGOs across the region, and lobbying government to enact new laws and/or change existing laws. This has been a hugely successful programme and assisted tens of thousands of statless people gain citizenship.

In 2007 the ad hoc Ecotours project was boosted by partnering with a fledgling volunteer agency, IVHQ, and over the following years saw the number of international volunteers coming to teach English or work on Community Service Projects skyrocket. At its peak, the foundation was hosting 50-100 volunteers over the summer period at a time, with additional volunteer groups from schools and universities homestaying with local villagers to complete projects in situ. The Ecotours project also developed trekking programmes which gave work to local guides and put money into the hands of host families, as well as boosting the foundation's financial ability to fund other projects.

Today, our main work is based around agriculture & the environment, disaster management, and building programmes for poverty stricken elderly and infirm individuals.

The Mirror Foundation has been hard at work for over thirty years now, and is getting stronger, more professional, and well-known, each year.