Jeab grew up caught between her tribe's past and its future. Her mother, just one generation ahead of her, lived as a hunter-gatherer in the secluded jungles of nothern Thailand. The Mlabri Tribe's existence was changed forever by rampant deforestation, guerrilla warfare and the unstoppable encroachment of the modern world. By the time Jeab was a girl, the traditional lifestyle of the Mlabri had vanished. Without education, land or opportunity, her family was forced to work in back-breaking slash and burn agriculture as indentured servants for neighboring tribes.
From a young age, Jeab battled to create new opportunities for herself. Despite her family's difficult circumstances, she persevered in attending school as often as she could. She holds the distinction of being the very first Mlabri person to reach the 6th grade in school! She has continued to take non-formal education classes even after marrying and becoming a mother herself.
While Jeab has not lived the same life her mother did, she still feels rooted to her community and tribe. With her language and reading skills, she would probably be able to find work in a distant city. But with only a small group of Mlabri left in the world, she feels a commitment to making sure her children grow up near family and she is proud to be able to support her mother, who lives with her.
Hammock weaving has created an opportunity for Jeab to hold a skilled job and earn a healthy wage within her village. With her reading ability and smarts, she often helps other weavers learn new designs. For Jeab, the ability to live a stable life and be regarded as a teacher is truly remarkable. With her Kiva loan, she will be able to plan her weaving for the coming year and balance her time between work and home responsibilities.
As a member of the newest class of Kiva weavers, Jeab also has support creating a family budget, is part of an ongoing financial literacy program and will receive assistance opening up her first bank account!
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.