Naweeya is the owner & seamstress of Tiny Elephant
(In the words of Naweeya)
I grew up in a remote rural village of Northern Thailand along the Mekong River, an area known as the Golden Triangle. This border region between Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar is an expanse of small villages made up of subsistence farmers living in poverty with few options and limited opportunities.
I’ve heard people say, “Life is a choice,” but for us, it was a life of very few choices, no school meant no formal education, little work left only relentless labor, dreams and hopes were around but like dried seeds waiting to sprout. It was really hard to see beyond this lack of opportunity in my early life and begin to believe that I had things like options and choices. The horizon of hope and success seemed well beyond reach until I began to water a belief in myself that sprouted a sprig of my own potential. My parents taught me to focus on using what I had to succeed in life so making things and sewing is in my nature.
I met my husband when he was working at an NGO in Northern Thailand, and in the year 2000 life brought us to Canon City, CO. They don’t call it “Culture Shock” for nothing, it was so difficult learning the language and culture of my new home, but how would I make a living here and support the family I left behind? First you cry. Then you remember what your parents said, “Use what you have.” I started to make Christmas & Thank You Cards to sell on the weekends and my eyes were opened!
The Story Behind Tiny Elephant
The products I make today are the colors of my life, reflecting the love, hope, care, hunger and value of living. I use cloth woven by women I know in villages in Northern Thailand to make dresses. I re-purpose old tribal dresses, skirts, jackets, wedding dresses, blankets, and baby quilts along with leather from discarded jackets into purses. When you wear one of my dresses or purses they are a perfect complement to any outfit because they are made from the hopes and dreams of women for a better tomorrow.
A couple of years ago my husband and I were visiting my family when we met Thai, Burmese, and Laotian kids who needed some help and we wanted to make a difference. Tiny Elephant has made a way for us to give back to the women, children and single moms who live in the border villages. Tiny Elephant sponsors education classes for women to learn skills like reading and writing so they can get better jobs and support their families. Tiny Elephant donates funding for small projects like purchasing a water tank for a rural school (so kids can drink clean water) and buying raincoats, mosquito nets, backpacks, blankets, school uniforms, socks& shoes, and school supplies. Education is the best way to achieve a better life and help women and children to avoid the dangers of human trafficking and child labor.
Giving is the best thing in life.
Life creates dreams...dreams create life