What if you have a choice to help kids to get education through your purchase? How then would you spend your money?
Life Interwoven empowers women in the local community to make arts & crafts which they enjoy while fulfilling their dreams of being able to support their families. While preserving the traditional arts, textile and handicrafts in South East Asia, Life Interwoven also allows children the opportunity to obtain education by supporting their fellow artisan parents for a better quality of life.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela
The model centres around empowerment and everything flows from that perspective. Life Interwoven works directly with the local artisans and creates a system where their crafts are being recognised and given access to market opportunities. These include providing a platform for them to sell and reach international markets as well as offering leadership skills as required.
Life Interwoven was started 5 years ago from Suwanna’s (co-founder) deep heart to help the disadvantaged children from families who live at the border of Thailand.
As a result of civil conflict in the past, the many people who fled Thailand and Burma are now stateless, which meant they were excluded from any support system, including health care and education from the government. To date, the organisation has helped over 100 kids.
Initially, the plan was to donate from the profits but found that it was hard to sell initially. If they would have waited for profits to give kids the money for their education, they do not know when that will be so they changed the plan slightly to give from 10% of the sales which automatically meant that the kids will get benefits directly from this project. The goal of this project is to help people at the deepest level and alleviate as much suffering as possible.
This is just one of the stories of the organisation’s profound impact: The Koy and her sister’s families have altogether 3 kids. Koy’s sister’s son was in need of a bed because the monsoon flooded the sister’s house a few months ago. The collapse of the economy from Covid-19 caused them to be unable to afford a new bed. The child is now sleeping on the floor. While Life Interwoven could directly provide a bed for them, instead, the family asked for a whipper snipper to work on their own garden and generate their own income by working for others (i.e., the farmers). The story reflected the idea of empowerment through providing the tools for them to create and lay hold of their own future.
Like many organisations, Life Interwoven had to rethink its impact when a global pandemic hit the world.
Initially, the majority of the funds was used to fund education for the kids. But it quickly became apparent that all of the artisans needed help too. They suddenly found themselves without work to support themselves given the current restrictions and hence the organisation pivoted to using their funds to include and help the artisans to ensure they meet their immediate basic needs.
Another point to shed light on is that Suwanna believes that we are still a long way to go from a fair and just world. While social impact is a good idea, Life Interwoven finds that it is often hard to influence buying power purely from a noble point of view. The world is realistic, it is only when the products meet a function or a need that they can sell well. Hence, better consumerism in ethical products is important. By flipping the mass consumption on cheap and mass-produced industries, each of us can help fund a better future by choosing to buy ethically.
One child, one teacher, one book and on pen can change the world – Malala Yousafzai
The question is, will you be the one?
Want to check out Life Interwoven’s handmade crafts? Need a coffee mug, scarf for the cold weather or maybe a meaningful gift ? All can be found on their store at Dinidae