Anong is a model of perseverance and good humor. Although she has seen the difficult side of life up close, she continues to keep her spirits high and to believe in a brighter future.
Anong is a mother, wife and member of the close-knit Mlabri tribe in rural northern Thailand. Although she now lives in the Ban Boonyuen Village with many of her fellow Mlabri, she spent years without stability. Like many of her fellow Mlabri, Anong was forced into indentured servitude as a field laborer working in slash & burn agriculture. She and her family worked in back-breaking toxic farming in order to pay off a never-ending cycle of debt to stronger clans.
For Anong and the rest of the Mlabri, the past decades have been full of heartbreak, tragedy and incredible perseverance. The gentle Mlabri once lived a peaceful lifestyle as migrant hunter & gatherers, but the teak deforestation and guerrilla warfare of the late 20th century destroyed their lifestyle forever. Impoverished, enslaved and malnourished, the tribe lost most of its members to malaria and other illnesses- with just 300 members left in the world, the Mlabri are listed on UNESCO’s “endangered languages” list.
Hammock weaving is the first proven path for Anong and her fellow Mlabri artisans to break free of the cycle of debt and servitude. Although she is a skilled artisan weaver, she used to be compelled to return to fieldwork when there were not enough hammock orders. Raising three children while moving from place to place in the slash & burn fields was daunting and discouraging.
This is Anong's second Kiva loan through the field partner program. As a member of the inaugural class of Kiva weavers, she went through a financial literacy program, improved her budgeting skills and opened her first bank account!
Anong is finally breathing easily and allowing herself to believe that her children will have a chance to grow up without the same fear and hardship she faced. She is very grateful to the Kiva community for supporting the stability she spent her life hoping for.
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.