TOURISM FOR GOOD IN THAILAND

, while fighting injustices faced by several groups in Thailand.

Elephants and their caretakers, known as mahouts, are exposed to harsh conditions in much of Thailand's elephant tourism industry. Many elephants in Southeast Asia are forced to work 14+ hour days, 365 days/year, in arduous conditions and without breaks. Alongside them, their mahouts are clocking torturously long days for meager wages, often struggling to support their families. After witnessing the way the industry operates, Pham set out to make change however she could. Chai Laid Orchid now rents elephants from the owner of a nearby camp during daytime hours. Mahouts are provided fair compensation and improved working conditions, and elephants are given the space and time to rest and relax.

This jungle oasis offers not only a humane respite for elephants and mahouts, but it's also home to an important social movement to protect and empower women. Daughters Rising is a nonprofit working to end sex trafficking by empowering at-risk women through education. Pham created the organization in partnership with her eco-lodge to provide an alternative path for refugees and indigenous women who are at risk of falling into Thailand's sex trafficking industry. The organization runs a training program for young women, paying them a fair wage and providing valuable hospitality experience, skills training, English classes, and health education. Program graduates are eligible for an interest free loan to pursue their own enterprise if they choose.

After completing the Daughters Rising empowerment program, Nukul Jorlopo founded Chai Lai Sisters, the first trekking and homestay company in Northern Thailand run by indigenous Karen women. Chai Lai Sisters now offers trekking expeditions, jungle accommodations, and cultural immersion trips as part of the Chai Lai portfolio.