Beads, accessories, bags, apparel - as long as it speaks culture, people and great design, count Eh Wah in. Our Barehands chanced upon Eh Wah, budding Myanmar-based designer, whilst on a regular visit to Myanmar. Greeted with a cheerful disposition, our conversations soon veered towards the social business scene in the country.
Eh Wah grew up in a family where her mother was a nurse. Having followed her mother to countless hospital visits since her childhood days, it was not long before she learnt that helping people is an ordinary affair. In 2012, Eh Wah started working closely with a non-profit organisation that was tasked to provide job opportunities to those stricken with leprosy. Bearing the burden of their health, many were not able to find regular employment opportunities. There would be days where their condition would be unbearable or they would simply require a longer resting period in between work. These concessions would have been hard to come by with regular work. So, Eh Wah decided to adopt the group under her wing.
What started as a passion, soon turned to an enterprise. She found herself working day and night training her group of producers. There were long days where it just seemed as if there was no progress, no light at the end of the tunnel, but more challenges.
However, patience was what it took. Through her perseverance and continued belief in the purpose behind what she was doing, she finally saw growth. Gradually, the team grew from two to five and now more than fifteen are producing products throughout Myanmar. Eh Wah’s team of producers work from their homes and she takes time out to personally meet and check in on them frequently.
Every product handcrafted by Eh Wah and her team, truly speaks of the journey they have undertaken - one that not many would understand nor gladly undertake. However, it is in the intangibles that allow for sustainability, for instance, creating a sustainable livelihood for all of her producers and an increased confidence and self-respect amongst this community of producers.
Our Barehands is privileged to partner Eh Wah in her journey in establishing this community of artisan producers in Myanmar. One of our chief goals is to ensure that our producing communities can stand on their own two feet. We believe the more demand there is for the collection of products, the more income can be generated for her producers. Together, we hope to build a sustainable future for them, their families and communities.
What story will your hands tell?