Daeng was one of the first of his generation of Malbri to grow up in a modern Mlabri world. Before him, his father had known the hardships – and the independence – of a life lived mainly in the jungles. Rampant deforestation and extensive agriculture reduced forested land to a fraction of its past area. By the time Daeng was born in 1983, the Mlabri people had been reduced to indentured servitude in the slash & burn fields of other ethnic groups in Thailand.
Daeng grew up in the Ban Bunyuen village, and learned to read and write at the school there. Basic education opened up many new avenues of knowledge for him, while village elders and his older relatives introduced him to the ways of the jungle. Daeng thus straddles both generations; he is an example to the younger ones, and a help in guiding the older ones through the intricacies of modern life.
Daeng does not have the same fear of the outside world as the older generation does. He can hold his own in a pinch and he knows where to go for help when he’s hard pressed.
Like many of his fellow weavers, Daeng weaves hammocks to provide a better life for his wife and their children- he’s a great dad! He is savvy enough to make wise decisions in his purchases, yet retains a uniquely Mlabri penchant for helping others – something that weaving hammocks allows him to do.
Daeng was one of the first to tell about Mlabri life in his lead role in the documentary film, The Importance of Being Mlabri. He still functions as a liaison with outsiders, running interference for those with fewer skills in those areas.
Currently Daeng is saving up to buy a pickup truck to give him more independence in business.
About Yellow Leaf Hammocks
Yellow Leaf Hammocks is a for-profit social enterprise that trains and supports artisan weavers as they create high-margin luxury hammocks. By laying the foundation for a sustainable micro-economy, the organization is helping alleviate poverty, social injustice and environmental degradation for rural hill tribes in northern Thailand. The enterprise is a wholesale hammock seller that distributes its products through retail boutiques and e-commerce websites.
Kiva lenders’ funds are used to help artisans buy the raw materials to make hammocks. Additionally, the funds are used to expand the distribution network to increase hammock sales globally.
Yellow Leaf Hammocks joined Kiva through our Experimental Partnership Program, and has therefore received a lighter level of due diligence. Accordingly, loans associated with this partner carry a higher level of risk than typical Kiva loans.