Thai Silk Weavers Brought Together with Fair Trade Opportunities by the Kohtrad Silk Project

Categorized | Fairtrade, Natural Materials, Products

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In the poor Issan region of North East Thailand, many families in this rural community are skilled in the art of weaving silk. Yet without the employment opportunities in more developed areas or internet access it was difficult for many of these silk makers to find a way of distributing their goods. Marketing to the West was an unattainable goal until Farquhar Simpkin traveled to Thailand. After learning of this challenge in the friendship of a local girl Simpkin thought of a way to start a project that could help, and just over a year later the Kohtrad Silk Project was started.

Handwoven silk in Thailand is traditionally done by women using hand looms. Silk is a natural protein fiber that is handwoven in Thailand. Raw silk is hand reeled onto wooden spindles and takes between 35 and 40 hours.

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Comprised of two websites, SilkShirtStore.com and SilkScarfShawls.com, the Kohtrad Silk Project is enabling the Thai silk makers, traditionally women, to distribute their products around the world by using an online platform once unavailable. The silk weavers receive good fair trade pay for their talented work, many using this income to afford school for their children, build a business, or simply stay in the area. Poverty is a challenge almost half of the world faces today and with social enterprises like the Kohtrad Silk Project the aims are to educate and enable people in impoverished countries to help empower themselves. These individuals are given an opportunity to be successful and pull their families out of poverty.

Mens Silk Shirt - Navy BlueIn an effort to provide the opportunity entrepreneurs in developing countries around the world need to start their own small businesses SilkShirtStore.com donates 10% of their profits in loans through Kiva’s microfinance program. Many individuals in these impoverished countries are extremely motivated and have the ability of being successful in their business endeavors. By providing loans instead of donations accountability is encouraged. Once profitable these individuals will be able to provide the essential clean water, food, and shelter their families need and help bring them out of poverty.

Natural Men’s Long Sleeve Silk Shirt – Navy Blue
Price: $22.53 (UK£ 14.99) - Includes free shipping worldwide.

Natural Silk Scarf - Red with Gold Pattern

The other side of the Kohtrad Silk Project is SilkScarfShawls.com where 50% of all profits from silk scarves and silk shawls are being used to build a community internet hub in Si Sa Ket, North East Thailand. Home to about 600 people, Si Sa Ket is where the silk scarves and shawls are made. The internet hub will be located next to a village school when completed and will give this rural community access to cheap internet access.

100% Natural Silk Scarf – Red with Gold Pattern
Price: $22.53 (UK£ 14.99) - Includes free shipping worldwide.

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