Born into an Akha hill tribe village in Northern Thailand, Ging started out with nothing. She was left with no home, no education, no work — no opportunity to live a decent life.
Ging’s parents were jailed for drug trafficking when she was young. Because there is little opportunity in the hill tribe villages, the pressures that parents face often force them to resort to drug trafficking. Once they do participate, it is almost impossible to escape alive or at the very least, without a prison sentence.
Ging was left with no home, no land to grow rice and no way to support herself. But she was determined to get back on her feet.
Searching for an ethical living wage
As Ging became older, she pursued an education and started to learn some valuable skills. She was trained to sew at age 15 and is now fluent in the Thai language. She has been able to continue her education on weekends to complete her high school diploma.
She finally found her first job in a factory, where she was paid by the piece and often had to work weekends. When there was work, it was a race to make enough money to cover monthly expenses, and there was always anxiety about orders not coming in.
Finding HOPE in Fair Fashion in Action
Ging now works for HOPE Fair Fashion in Action, a Fair Trade Federation member company that pays artisans an ethical living wage. Ging is one of 10 hard-working women, ages 22 to 26, who create clothing, jewelry and accessories for HOPE. Seven of the 10 women are pictured in the photo above; Ging is second from the right in the front row.
Working in these fair trade conditions with a guaranteed monthly salary, Ging can regularly send 50 percent of her salary to her sisters in the village. The money Ging sends goes a long way in the village where the cost of living is a fraction of the cost of living in the city.
“When I was in the village, I never thought that I would have so many opportunities. Now I can help my family,” says Ging. “We can plan for our future together because now I can budget. I don’t have to worry about what I will do for work and if there will be work. Now my sisters can grow rice in the village. We are so happy and grateful …”
To read more about Hope Fair Fashion in Action, click here.
Shop HOPE jewelry and accessories in the One World by GaiamTM Fair Trade Marketplace.