Yalana is an artisan hammock weaver and the mother of 3 children. She was one of the first Yellow Leaf artisans and is one of the most talented and prolific weavers. Because of her generosity of spirit and the way she bolsters the entire community, she has grown to be a leader among the village weavers. She is rich in friends and respected by her peers.
Yalana was born in the jungles of rural northern Thailand at the end of an era for her tribe, the Mlabri. Her father was a respected sorcerer and very knowledgeable about traditional Mlabri life. But when she was young, life rapidly changed as deforestation destroyed the jungles where they had lived for generations. Without any land rights or capital to farm, Yalana eventually became an indentured servant, along with her parents and the rest of the tribe. They worked clearing land in the fields of the more powerful tribes in the region. The back-breaking slash and burn was dangerous and the payment was meager, but there were no alternatives available.
Hammock weaving presented Yalana's first opportunity to build a new life and she greeted this excellent opportunity with ambition and diligence! Today she lives in the Ban Bunyuen Village and helps provide for her family by applying her traditional artisan talents toward weaving hammocks that are sold around the world.
She has acquired enough independence to be able to plant rice fields for her family, generally harvesting enough grain to last from one harvest to the next. Hunting and foraging continue to play a role in her family’s daily sustenance, but they are no longer limited to what they can hunt or catch; her income from making hammocks affords them healthcare, education, and food security formerly unavailable to them.
With the hunter and gatherer lifestyle lost to the past, Yalana has adjusted to her new situation while maintaining her pride and confidence as a Mlabri woman.
This is Yalana'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!
Just a few years ago, this level of stability was out of reach for Yalana. For a woman born in her circumstances, the opportunity to earn a solid wage and be offered reliable credit is truly remarkable. With this Kiva loan, Yalana will continue to build a strong foundation for her family's future and will begin saving money in her new 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.