After rampant environmental destruction drove the Mlabri tribe from their traditional forest home, Chanai and her family were forced into bondage as field laborers in back-breaking toxic agriculture. Exploited, impoverished and malnourished, only 300 Mlabri survived this dark era.
Today, hammocks are empowering Chanai and her family to build a brighter future. Weaving work is safe, highly paid and community-focused. Chanai is overjoyed that her children are able to attend school instead of toiling in the fields.
As one of the most outgoing weavers, she keeps the old Mlabri traditions alive with her love of storytelling. Chanai loves the freedom that she has to work at her own pace as a weaver- it suits her relaxed, fun-loving nature.
Chanai is also a traditional Mlabri in the sense that she puts the community first. For example, she has had several extended family members move in with her during the past year. In many cultures, this would be an unwelcome strain on finances- but Chanai sees this as an opportunity to teach her family how to weave and share more work with everyone.
She is excited to use this Kiva loan to help expand production and ensure that her family can work and learn during the slow season. They will build momentum and stockpile hammocks for a busy spring!
As a member of the newest class of Kiva weavers, Chanai 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.