In 1972 Fr. Joe Maier, a Redemptorist priest born in Longview, Wash., co-founded the Human Development Foundation Mercy Centre in Klong Toey, the largest slum in Bangkok, Thailand.
Mercy Centre manages 23 kindergartens for more than 3,000 children. It operates special schools for street children and secures scholarships for more than 1,000 children annually.
Fr. Joe and his staff work with police to keep children out of the hands of human traffickers. They’ve built 10,000 homes, plus playgrounds and sports facilities. They established a women’s credit union to help fight loan sharking. They provide home care to HIV/AIDS patients and are always prepared with emergency relief.
Fr. Joe has earned the respect and love, not only of the poor, but also the Buddhist monks and local imam, who pray with him.