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Fair Trade Jewelry and Ethical Fashion

Stories of Hope in Thailand – Trades of Hope

by | Artisans, Stories of Hope

Empower women in rural villages to keep their families together.

(Read Time: 4 min.)

Fair Trade Jewelry

Job Skills Training and Dignified Income for Women in Rural Villages

This workshop was founded by a local woman, named Aoi, who had witnessed too many women in Thailand’s rural villages desperate to feed their families, being forced to leave their children behind to find jobs in the city so they could send money home.

So, she created this workshop that offers skills training, business mentoring, scholarships for Artisans’ children, emergency health care coverage, micro-loan programs, and job flexibility that allow women, like Aoi, to also work from home. Every purchase of Trades of Hope designs from Thailand supports this rural village workshop in Thailand and helps these women help their families prosper!

Aoi’s Story of Hope

This workshop’s founder, Aoi, provided this local mother, also named Aoi, with an opportunity to earn a living wage.

Like many women in Thailand, Aoi’s husband was not able to find a job that provided enough income to support their family of five.

Wanting to send their children to school – but challenged by the fact that schools in Thailand are not free – Aoi needed hope.

Sa’s Story of Hope

Sa grew up in a small traditional town in Thailand where many people did not value girls, nor encourage them to pursue their dreams.

But Sa was blessed with parents who encouraged her to dream big and become independent.

So, Sa followed her dreams and moved to the city to become the main materials purchaser for this Artisan community.

Sa buys fabric and oversees purchasing for our products made by her Artisan community in Thailand.

She often visits different communities and marketplaces to find new trends and fabrics.

Sa loves that she can do something that gives her so much freedom and independence to make creative decisions. She loves making a difference while being artistic!


Traditional Thai Craftsmanship Creating Jobs in Areas of Extreme Poverty

Gretchen, Trades of Hope Founder (Left), Pranee, Thailand Workshop Founder (Center), Elisabeth, Trades of Hope Founder (Right)

Pranee owns and operates this ethical workshop in an area of extreme poverty in Thailand. The Artisans in this workshop specialize in fabric designs that feature traditional Thai Artisan techniques like batik. 

Every purchase of Trades of Hope designs from this workshop in Thailand supports women and families in areas of extreme poverty by providing safe jobs and fair wages in communities where opportunities for dignified jobs are scarce.

Using traditional batik techniques, Artisans in Thailand stamp wax patterns on the fabric before dyeing it the desired color and steam-washing the fabric to remove the wax and reveal their designs. Each mask is unique to the Artisan who made it.

A’s Story of Hope

“I was born in Burma under a very hard dictatorship, and we hardly had food at home. I was able to finish high school, move to Thailand, and get a work permit to stay in Thailand.

This job has given me the opportunity to learn many things. I had no idea how to sew when I first started. The team has been very supportive at the workshop.

Now I can make bags with zippers and do handmade decorations such as tassels and pompoms. I’m always learning new skills.” – A

A, Sewing Artisan in Thailand - WEB

“My life is much better now, I have enough money to eat well and have good friends in the company. I would like to work here for a long time, as I want to improve my skills. I love using the sewing machine. I would like to open my own workshop!”

– A, Artisan in Thailand

What would you like to see these textile Artisans make next?


(Originally Published June 22, 2021.)

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Kathy Thomas

Kathy Thomas

Kathy Thomas is an inspirational writer with a passion for helping women discover and celebrate their unique gifts and abilities. Kathy is part of the Communications Team at Trades of Hope focusing on Artisan advocacy.