Bai was born in Laos and immigrated to Thailand many years ago. She grew up in a small Hmong village on the border, but land was scarce and the population was becoming crowded. When she married, she moved with her husband to a new settlement further south, called Huay Hom village. Here, there was enough land for the Hmong to build a life and scrape by, although the lack of tourism or economic opportunity meant most families worked in toxic slash and burn agriculture and were trapped in a cycle of subsistence farming.
Bai grew up without an opportunity to earn an education, so her prospects were very limited. She speaks barely any Thai, so it is difficult for her to navigate transactions outside her community. When the opportunity to weave hammocks arose, Bai was very excited. She is able to work from home, make her own schedule and earn a far larger income doing work she enjoys. Bai is a skilled weaver and now that she knows that hammock weaving is a long-term opportunity, she is ready to stake her future on her abilities. This loan will help her family break the cycle of poverty and have a secure future, especially because her participation in Kiva comes in conjunction with financial training!
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.