Colorful Burmese Magnet Trio
Clearance! Was $9.95, now $5.80!
Here's a tiny trio of festive people in vibrant dress, ready to bring good tidings to your fridge!
Magnets are made through Borderline Women's Collective in Mae Sot, Thailand, a shared marketing space for women from Burma and women living along the Thai-Burma border to sell their hand-made items. The Women's Collective provides handicraft, product design and shop management training to women, helping build their capacity to run income-generating projects within their communities.
Each magnet measures approximately 1.5" T (3.8 cm). Bag is made of naturally dyed cotton and measures 3.5" T (8.9 cm). Handmade in and fairly traded from Thailand.
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Artisan: Chimmuwa Artisans Group
Naw Naw's story is one of triumph over adversity. A Thai Karen, she grew up in Tae Song Yang village near the Thai-Burma border. Both of her parents died when she was only twelve, but not before she learned weaving from her mother. She earned a living, first as a teacher for children in her community and then as a housekeeper in Chiang Mai, until moving to live with her aunt in Mae Sot. In that time, she learned sewing two days a week, and in attended school in the evenings. It was during a job cleaning the office for the Taipei Overseas Peace Service that her textile skills came to the attention of Sylvia, the TOPS manager. One month later -- after a training session in Chiang Rai where she learned the finer points of bag design -- she and Sylvia began what would become the Chimmuwa artisans group.
With an eye towards preserving traditional textiles while benefiting the women of the Karen community, the group took their name from the Karen word for a long, white dress worn by unmarried girls. The dress is meant to symbolize their purity, and was to embody the spirit of their endeavor. At the beginning, Naw Naw was the only artisan, making bags, purses, aprons, and kitchen items from fabrics Sylvia brought back from Thai villages along the Thai-Burma border. Through the Borderline Women's Collective, they were able to reach a broader, fair-trade market, and as sales increased, Naw Naw was able to turn those sales around into capital investments for Chimmuwa. This meant new sewing machines and the ability to train and employ more Karen women, and in turn, expand their line of products.
Naw Naw continues to expand her skill set, learning the finer points of the business as well as constantly looking for new product design ideas. She takes pride in her textile products -- especially with the international demand she has developed -- as she sees this as a way of sharing her culture with the world. In 2007, she started offering weaving courses to her customers, sharing a rich tradition of back-strap weaving. She says, "When I was weaving in our village with my mother, I never would have imagined that twenty years later I would be here teaching others our traditional handicraft and spending my days doing what I love."
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