NGOs in Chiang Mai

I get numerous inquires from travelers, writers, researchers, bloggers, photographers and academics interested in volunteer work and/or social activism in the region. I have yet to find a comprehensive web site listing the NGOs in Chiang Mai and since I continue to receive inquiries, I thought I would put some out there. So here you go!  This list is by no means exhaustive, but it is a list of NGOs that are reputable within the community.

The Elephant Nature Foundation is dedicated to the survival of the Asian elephant, we protect habitat, provide sanctuary from abuse, and work with groups of people involved.


Thai Freedom House is a non-government, not-for-profit, community language and arts learning center in Northern Thailand dedicated to assisting families and individuals who are refugees from Burma and indigenous peoples of Thailand. We not only provide education in Thai and English language and the arts but house a community resource center with information on where to find valuable resources for people in need.  In addition we have an on-site clothing donation and distribution center which provides hygiene and household supplies to those in need when possible.

0cdef39Art Relief International works to transform the lives of struggling social groups in Chiang Mai, Thailand by offering them the opportunity to express themselves through an artistic lens. Art changes lives. It is both a powerful means of expression and a recognized means of therapy – two things that are vital in the lives of ARI participants. ARI works to cultivate creativity, create an atmosphere of inclusion for groups that are often cast out and ignored, and encourage social change.

ARI Logo good

The Human Rights Education Institute of Burma is a nongovernmental organization that facilitates a broad range of human rights training and advocacy programs for grassroots organizations and community leaders. We are dedicated to building a peaceful, democratic and just society where the people of Burma possess a critical human rights consciousness, enjoy political and social space to take action to promote dignity, and are empowered to initiate rights-based solutions to social problems. HREIB is a registered foundation with administrative offices in Thailand.


We Women Foundation is dedicated to empowering unrecognized refugee women from Burma. By providing professional and educational opportunities to the strong women of Burma, the We Women Foundation strives to build capacity within the unrecognized refugee community so that women might make and influence policy decisions which are too often made by outsiders.


Women’s League of Burma has three functioning arms, namely the Peace Building Program, the Women Against Violence Program, and the Political Empowerment Program.  Women’s League of Burma is dedicated to building trust, solidarity, and mutual understanding between all nationalities of women. Each of the programs consists of a dual approach to catalyzing change, through capacity building and advocacy. Our other projects include; Subgrant Capacity Building Project, Inland Project, International Criminal Court Project and our Media Advocacy Project.


The Burma Study Center (formerly The Best Friend Library) was founded in Burma in 1999 by two concerned monks with the purpose of encouraging people to become more educated, aware and active in the struggle for peace and freedom. The main belief is that education can open up people’s eyes and ears and is the best way to eradicate poverty. The Best Friend operates free libraries in Burma and Thailand. The libraries offer free internet access and literature, books, research reports, news magazines, films and other materials for English speakers as well as books in Burmese and ethnic minority languages.


Documentary Arts Asia is a non-profit organization which works primarily in photography and film, but also audio and narrative writing, to tell the stories from Asia that need to be heard. Our Documentary Arts Center in Chiang Mai, Thailand, supports documentary artists through the provision of training and library resources, grants and promotion.  We also strive to gain recognition for the importance of high-quality, independent and objective documentary practice through our own agency, magazine and documentary arts festival.



15 thoughts on “NGOs in Chiang Mai

  1. I work as a Epidemiologist for last 07 years in northern india (mountain environment) for communicable diseases and its prevention in local communities, I am also a developmental therapist (children with multiple disability), since the climate of Ching mai is same as my place. I am searching a short term work in health or disability sector in ching mai,specially in january 2017 if u can help.

    1. Nandan, I have limited contacts in the health sector, but would advise you to contact the following NGOs in Chiang Mai to network further: Freebird Cafe, BEAM Education Foundation and We Women Foundation. Also try the Mae Tao Clinic in Mae Sot. Good luck!

  2. Hello NOËL,
    Thank you for putting all this together. I had a question in mind but didn’t know where to ask .. and wonder if you could help me. I am freelance photographer and documentary maker based in Kathmandu, Nepal mostly doing Humanitarian related projects. I am looking to extend my expertise and thinking of finding an NGO to work for in Thailand. Any leads? Thanks 🙂

  3. Dear, NGOs in chiang mai
    Hello, my name is Mudapow, I’m Karen. And I’m a final year student of Chiang Mai Rajabhat University. Majoring is English for communicatoin. Now ,i’m looking for a trainning place for being a internship student. Aso, i’m really interested in NGO, with we women foundation. My intership is going to start On Jan til April. I’m really want to do something for my people and look forward to receiving your reply.
    Your Sincerely,

    1. Sorry for the late reply Mudapow. I would advice reaching out to NGOs like BEAM, We Women Foundation and Thai Freedom House. All of them are doing good work and could possibly direct you to what you are looking for. Good luck!

  4. Hello
    i’m senior student of Chaing Mai rajabath univercity. Now i’m looking for a training place in Thailand for my internship on January to April 2018 and i’m interesting in we women foundation because i want to do something for our women especially Karen because i’m Karen. I’m look forward to receive your reply.
    your sincerely.
    Watcharaporn Damrongkiriprai.

    1. Sorry for the last response Watcharaporn. I would reach out to NGOs like We Women Foundation, BEAM and Thai Freedom House. They may be able to steer you in the direction you are interested in. As always, be discerning and make sure your values align with any organization you work with. Good luck!

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