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Helping others by sleeping in your hammock?
You see, although our hammocks are designed to help you relax, they were actually conceived as a way to help the Mlabri tribe of North-Thailand in their search for a new livelihood.
Due to deforestation, their once nomadic life-style in the jungles of Laos & Thailand was no longer an option and they have struggled long time to find a suitable alternative. Now, making these quality hammocks has finally brought them financial independence within the home village and makes prior alternatives such as tough field work or sweatshop labour unneccesary.

Thanks to our dedicated fans, the hammock project continues to grow and reach out to other disadvantaged groups in the area. Positive products from and for positive people.For more information, please read on below.

  The Mlabri are an enigmatic group of about 300 people who, until a few decades ago, used to live a nomadic life as hunters and gatherers in the dense forests and high mountains of Northern Thailand. They would build temporary structures of bamboo sticks thatched with fresh, green banana leaves and occupy these for a few days, until the leaves turned yellow.

Since the proof of their existence consisted mostly of these abandoned huts, they were given the traditional Thai name of “Phi Tong Luang”, meaning “Spirits of the Yellow Leaves”. However, since they are peaceful people, they wish to be referred to as “People of the forest”

There is some controversy about the Mlabri’s origin, but at present they are recognized as (new) Thai citizens. They have had to struggle long time for this, and many problems started when their natural habitat was diminishing due to deforestation, making their traditional way of life less and less possible. Because they couldn’t have their own land, they had to work for other tribes and often faced slave like servitude, forced tour shows and other degrading alternatives.
Some 20 years ago, they started receiving help from a missionary and his family. Great steps were achieved in the areas of education and health, but the need for a steady income remained.

In 1996, an intrepid Suisse motorbike tour guide who had formerly worked as a textile engin-eer, discovered the village and was struck by the women's skills in making string bags from the fiber of jungle vines. Occasionally these bags would make a sale as souvenirs, but never enough to become a reliable source of income. As an alternative, the idea came to teach the Mlabri how to weave hammocks and such was the beginning of one of the most successful development projects in the area.

The Mlabri adopted this new handicraft that seemed to go quite well with their quiet life style and started off with the production of the original Mlabri hammock, a.k.a. the Jungle Hammock. Meanwhile, they have also mastered the process of dying the cotton yarn as well as some more intricate weaving techniques such as our Sitting and V-weave hammocks. Men have joined the workforce and production has expanded to include nine different styles of hammocks that are being exported to more than 15 countries world wide.

Originally conceived and developed as an alternative source of income for the Mlabri people, meanwhile the Jumbohammock project has expanded to include other disadvantaged groups in rural Thailand, notably the Hmong and Northern Thai communities who live in the same general area as the Mlabri in Ban Bunyuen. Many of these weavers are older women, for whom field work is not longer and option. Others are young women with small children to care for. Some are men who have found this an attractive means of supplementing their income in off season.

Every hammock is produced in a healthy environment (the home village) where each weaver can work at his/her own chosen speed. Honest wages are received and no discrimination is made on the basis of ethnicity, gender, age, religion, education or office intrigues.
Weaving hammocks has given new status and self respect to these people. They are productive members of their families, communities and villages. The confidence they have is reflected in the quality of their handiwork.

None of this would have been possible without the people's own enthusiasm, or yours!

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