Mae has lived through dramatic strife and many changes over the course of her life in northern Thailand. She was born in Songkwaa, a Hmong village that was “resettled” by the Thai government during the communist uprising. When she grew up, she married a man who lived in Huay Hom Village and together they helped found a new community in Phrae Province.
After many years of hard work in the fields and raising her family, Mae has reached the age when Hmong women would traditionally transition to “retirement” pursuits, like cooking for grandchildren and sewing clothes for their families. With the onset of store-bought clothing and prepared food, many older Hmong women feel left behind and worry that they are a burden to their families.
In light of her changing circumstances, Mae jumped at the chance to weave hammocks. Weaving is less demanding than field work, more flexible in scheduling and pays far more than a laborer could earn. With this loan, Mae will be able to take her weaving work to the next level, begin building a retirement nest egg and feel fully financially empowered (through both financial training and economic security).
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.