Kue was born and raised in a Hmong village in Payao, a province in northern Thailand. In her youth, she and her family moved from region to region seeking “greener hills” and less crowded lands for farming. She was a pioneer in the original group of Hmong who journeyed to Phrae Province and settled the Huay Hom Village. From a small settlement, the village has now become home to hundreds of Hmong.
Kue’s son has risen to a place of prominence in the community - he is a village headman. Kue is proud of her son’s achievements, but she has faced challenges as she grows older in a changing society. Hard work is an important Hmong value - everyone is expected to contribute to the family, from their childhood to old age. Traditionally, less physically demanding jobs were reserved for elders. Older women would cook and make clothing while young adults worked in the fields. Now that factory-made textiles and food have replaced the homemade, Kue and many elders face a quandary. Many of them go out and work in the backbreaking fields to try to bring value to their families and maintain their dignity, often falling into debt-slavery as a result.
For Kue, hammock weaving is a way to maintain her pride and self-worth. She feels confident in her ability to contribute to her family and tribe without taxing her health. This loan will help Kue plan her workload for the coming year and ensure that she maintains her independence.
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.