In Thailand, when you talk about prostitution, you talk about Pattaya. Known around the world as Thailand's number one sun, sea and sex destination, it is home to at least 20,000 male, female and child prostitutes. During tourist ‘high season’ every November to March, about one million visitors crowd Pattaya's bars, nightclubs, massage parlors or steam baths. If you talk statistics, it can seem hopeless. But when you go into Tamar Center, you see people. Lovely ladies who've chosen to change the direction of their lives and in doing so, have found dignity, hope and a future.
Tamar Center is a center for help, healing and hope, offering the ladies jobs in their card-making program, hairdressing salon, bakery, restaurant and other income-earning activities, as well as giving courses in life skills, English and knowing God. Many ladies who found new life at Tamar asked them to please go with them to their villages in northeast Thailand (Isaan) so their families can be changed too. Tamar said 'yes', and after two years of working with those families and villages to see reconciliation happen, relationships built, and children's program begun, they have now opened their first Prevention Center in the Isaan region. This will initially offer childcare for single mothers, followed by job training, all with a Godly foundation.
Tamar's healing arms are opened wider in Pattaya now too. In November 2009, they were able to buy property on Soi 6, one of the darkest, saddest, most hopeless bar sections in the city. Through their Tamar Hair Salon, English classes, Counselling and Prayer Rooms, the light of hope is coming to the people on that street. That’s what L.I.F.E. is all about.
Real L.I.F.E. story:
It’s a sad story. A story that is repeated over and over again across the nation of Thailand. Nok is a young mother in the Isaan, the poor northeastern part of the nation. She is married, happily she thinks, with one child. Then the father finds a new ‘wife’. Suddenly, she is alone, with a young child, no means of support. Her former husband does not give even one penny to help. What can she do? Under great pressure from her parents, she is forced to leave her 4 year old daughter with them and go to Pattaya to find 'work'.
Pattaya. City of bright lights and broken dreams. Women come to work in the bars and ‘marry a foreign husband’. What they get instead is prostitution. Standing on the street or sitting in bars trying to lure men in to drink and have sex. After one month, Nok couldn’t do it anymore. Desperate, she cried out for help. The staff at Tamar Center heard her. Nok was accepted into their 3 month counseling/job retraining program. It was a time of tears and healing, a time of finding she has value, her life has purpose. After the course, Nok worked in the Tamar Center coffee shop. But Nok’s mother kept calling her, demanding money, not for Nok’s daughter, but for the mother’s drinking habit. Recently, Tamar’s outreach team went with Nok back to her village. There, in a time of tears and forgiveness, Nok and her family were reconciled. Her mother no longer calls demanding money. The only calls she makes are to find out if Nok is OK. That’s Nok. That’s what L.I.F.E. is all about.
2. Counselling staff
3. Rehab staff
4. Work Project leaders
6. Hairdressing Trainer
7. Those with baking/bakery experience
8. Those with restaurant management experience