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WEAVE Launches Fair Trade Showroom in Mae Hong Son

By Mitos Urgel, President and Executive Director, WEAVE

Celebrating 15 Years of Economic Empowerment

Mae Hong Son, Thailand

WEAVE (Women's Education for Advancement and Empowerment) Foundation launched and unveiled its Mae Hong Son Fair Trade Showroom on May 2, 2012.

Celebrating an exciting milestone, WEAVE featured a dramatic presentation of its Income-Generating Project, an ethnic fashion show, and unveiling of exciting new products.

The WEAVE Fair Trade Showroom houses beautifully handcrafted items by refugee women artisans from marginalized ethnic groups on the Thai-Burma border.

The Fair Trade Showroom is part of WEAVE's Economic Empowerment and Development Program, an innovative program that supports marginalized and displaced women on the Thai-Burma border. It provides safe and sustainable employment opportunities for Burmese ethnic women under fair trade principles.

This event celebrated the milestone of WEAVE's 15 years of successful economic empowerment activities for refugee women artisans. 

Over 1,200 artisans have learned valuable skills in weaving, sewing or embroidery. Over 700 women have become regular home-based entrepreneurs, earning much-needed income from customers around the world.

WEAVE uses its local and international marketing channels to service customers, including Fair Trade networks, NGOs, educators and international student and community groups, from as far away as Canada and the US.

Struggling to Survive

Since 1990, millions of people from ethnic groups in Burma have fled their country because of political instability and human rights abuses carried out by the Burmese military.

They struggle to survive with aid allowances, and economic and employment opportunities are extremely scarce, especially for women. Finding additional work outside the camps puts these women and their families at risk, making them vulnerable to arrest or exploitation.

The income received is critical for health and education expenses for their families.

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