Who made your: purses?
Wednesday, 25 April 2018 | Joanna
Our purses are made by ladies from a range of tribes living in the densely forested hills above Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. They work from home, often in isolated rural villages and making the purses gives them a valuable income to supplement their subsistence farming. This helps when they need to access healthcare or education for their children.
The different tribes have different traditional styles of embroidery and applique work, and retaining these skills helps them preserve their unique identity.
I visited a Karen tribal village in 2010 where they used income from tourist stays as well as making goods for sale to build a school. The school was available to children from all tribes, and due to the rural nature of the area, many children had to board throughout the week. After walking ten miles on a Monday morning, they then walk ten miles back to their village on Friday after school. The children speak their own languages as well as Thai, which helps with integration, and the older children often have lessons via satellite from classrooms in the city so they could sustain their education through their teenage years even beyond the knowledge of their local teachers.
Our supplier Thai Tribal Crafts is a WFTO member in Chiang Mai which co-ordinates all the individual artisans and finds markets for their goods far beyond the usual tourist market.