What I did_ I Connected the Karen tribe people who needed to earn money for living and iCOOP Sawing Club who wanted to contribute to ethical consumption by making hand-woven textiles with the Karen ladies in the Melakee village in Northern Thailand and selling them to iCOOP. I met the Karen while I was traveling in South East Asia.
Cartoon for crowdfunding
photo above from_ iCOOP blog
The exhibition of the products made with the Karen’s textiles
by iCOOP Sawing Club in the fair trade cafe [The Earth Village ]
in Seoul city hall building.
photo by_ Sun from Melakee village
Result_Around $11,000 of profit was made by selling them and about 50% of it went to the makers in the village. I suggested them to use around $600 (20,000 baht) to grow plants in the village and the people decided to grow bananas and sugarcanes to feed their elephants in the camp.
Significance_ I and the ladies got an unexpected outcome through the project. The makers who participated in it said “We feel great because we realized that we can also earn money by our hands. The project improved our self-esteem.”
Further project_ I am planning to visit the village in 2018 again and try to develop an original souvenir of the Karen elephant camp using the textiles with the ladies so that the people can make a sustainable business by themselves. What I learned from the project was ‘supporting people to do what they can do well is the best solution to solve their own problems’ while having conversations and observing their lives.