Ladies and gentlemen and honoured guests, thank you very much for joining us at this very important event in the life of WEAVE.
In light of the recent tragic events in Japan, I’d like to first suggest we have a “Moment of Silence” for all of those affected by the earthquake, tsunami in northeastern Japan. Let’s us all join together and take a moment to remember in our thoughts and send our love.
Thank you everyone. Now on to tonight’s event. Tonight is indeed very important: a true milestone for WEAVE.
The women that WEAVE works with have experienced suffering and trauma as a result of war and forced displacement. They arrive in the camps and migrant towns with practically no support, which only increases their vulnerabilities, and thereby experience multiple burdens. Burdens to take care of and protect their families and find income to provide for their needs. These burdens are particular to women and yet opportunities are often very limited.
When IGP first began, it was a way to help women earn valuable and safe income for their families. We wanted to reduce the vulnerabilities that these women face in finding work to pay for things you and I may take for granted. Nutritious food, education opportunities for their children and the ability to equally contribute to their family finances. From here, we envisioned taking unique handicrafts to a broader market to bring safe income to these women.
This event marks a breakthrough for WEAVE and for the women’s economic empowerment program.
Tonight’s unveiling of our Fair Trade Shop and Gallery is not just an esthetic change- it represents a fundamental shift in how support organizations can not only impart skills and knowledge to women, but truly cement a business model which will allow them to achieve economic self-sufficiency. And plan and hope for the future. Our artisans are integral to IGP’s business and provide leadership and guidance in how to continue to increase its success.
Complimenting this, we are all the more committed to maintaining the development aspect of our work. The profit earned is not for a commercial entity, but making fair trade principles integral to the business.
I am very proud to watch women in this project become leaders and nurture a new generation of women- to learn skills and business management that they can take with them wherever they go. We are thrilled and honored to have some of these women here with us tonight: Our Quality Control leaders from Mae La, Umpiem Mai Camps, representatives from Thai villages and migrant women’s organizations.
Tonight’s event marks WEAVE’s official introduction as a business entity, with official status, so we can pursue more opportunities to help vulnerable women.
Our goal has always been to elevate women from poverty and vulnerability to self-sufficiency and hope.
We are honored to be joined by Ms. Clarita Benzon from Oxfam-Novib, the anchor supporter of WEAVE and Dr. Jesse Manuta, representing the Board of Trustees in the Philippines, here tonight to share in the celebration.
I also want to thank the WEAVE staff in Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai and Mae Sot who are committed to our vision and continually look for ways to support women in education, health and income generation and in their empowerment.
We have staff here to share with you more about our work and products. We hope you will have time to hear more. Thank you very much for supporting these courageous women and the work of WEAVE to provide hope for their future.