Fr Joe Maier - An honour beyond belief

Redemptorist priest, Joe Maier, has been present in the lives of the poor in Thailand and Laos since 1967, presence he describes as an "honour beyond belief". After studying the Thai language in Bangkok, Fr Joe, as he is affectionately known throughout many of the poorest communities in Bangkok, became a Parish priest to a remote Catholic village in the rural North East of Thailand before moving to a Catholic Hill Tribe Village, where he studied the H'mong language in Northern Laos.

Fr Joe returned to Bangkok in 1972 to serve a 25 year tenure as the Parish Priest to the Catholic community located in a slaughterhouse neighbourhood. Fr Joe joined with Sister Maria Chantavarodom in 1973 to start the Human Development Foundation for his disadvantaged neighbours of all religions.

The Human Development Foundation works to help the children and communities in many of the disadvantages slums of Bangkok. Together with their neighbours the HDF create simple-but-progressive solutions that touch the lives of thousands of the poor every day. The HDF:

build and operate schools
improve family health and welfare
protect street children's rights
combat the AIDS crisis,
respond to daily emergencies,
and offer shelter to orphans, to street children, and to children and adults with AIDS

Fr Joe's mission ensures that these projects are always done together, hand in hand and heart to heart with the people they serve.

Fr Joe holds advanced degrees in Theological Studies and Urban Planning as well as an honorary doctorate in Social Administration from Thammasart University in Thailand, and Acadia University in Canada. He has received numerous awards for outstanding citizenship, including a lifetime achievement award presented by Her Majesty the Queen of Thailand. While these accolades reflect a life time of dedication, Fr Joe believes his greatest honour is that the community has accepted him, as he accepts them.

Father Joe still lives in and works for the children in Klong Toey where his work here first began.