Chin Women Group (CWG) was founded in Mae Sot, Thailand, in June 2001. The purpose of the group is to provide income for the members of the group, and to help preserve the handicraft skills within the Chin community, by making and selling handicraft items and also recently, by training young women to preserve the skills of traditional handicraft.
The mountainous Chin State in the Northwest of Burma is one of the poorest regions in an already poor country. A large part of the population lives in remote places, struggling to get by with subsistence farming. Other sources of income are very limited, and many young people therefore move away from Chin state and try their luck in Yangon or Mandalay, or across the border in Thailand. They often end up in poorly paid jobs and unstable employment situations, and the Chin region loses a link to the future.
CWG founder Nu Tae decided together with some friends to find a better way to generate income for the Chin people, while at the same time preserving the traditional skills and the culture. In the beginning, the group mainly sold their products at a local market in Mae Sot, but today, Chin Women Group are also working with Borderline Collective for marketing and distribution, hoping to reach a broader consumer base for their handicrafts.
Most of the fabric that CWG uses comes from the Chin state in Burma. It is then transported to Mae Sot, in Thailand, where four young women create bags and accessories with designs that incorporate the traditional fabric into modern designs. In addition to traditional Chin fabric, CWG also uses their own hand-loomed fabric and in the video below you can see how the loom is set up:
You can find products from CWG for rent and for sale on fair-fashionista.com, but if you visit Mae Sot in Thailand, you can buy CWG products at Borderline Collective: