Written by Debbie Tingley

Director of Hands to Heart Women’s Cooperative

There is nothing like the sound of a hut full of strong women inspiring each other.  The air is filled with sounds of creativity, bantering of ideas, joy and laughter. 

As we met with the women of the Poh Karen village, Huay Wai (Who-ee- WHY) in the middle of a hut floor, they kept coming in to gather and see what all the excitement was about! Soon we had an over flowing room full of women, children and even some men shadowing us.  All learning of the new opportunity of becoming part of the Integrated Tribal Development Program (ITDP) women’s micro loan program- The Women’s Cooperative. At the Lanna Foundation we named this project the “Hands to Heart Women’s Cooperative”.

Meeting on the floor in the middle of a hut.

As they listened intently of how they might reach some of their own hopes and dreams to become entrepreneurs and bring more sustainable income to their families, I could see that the wheels of creativity and inspiration began to turn.  They were excited about the potential of preserving their heritage of this beautiful artisan weaving that currently is at risk of becoming lost within the younger generation. Soon the hut was truly filled with a synergy of excitement and creativity, planting a small tributary of hope through the village of Huay Wai (the valley of water running through like an oasis). 

An example of the beautifully embroidered, traditional pieces.
Traditional Weaving using the outside shell of seeds as beadwork.

At one point, I couldn’t help but looking around the hut in awe of all that was taking place, the joy, the laughter and the creativity flowing through like a river the Lord was bringing to their valley which had been dry for a time. He amazingly is utilizing this beautiful women’s ministry, Hands to Heart, bringing women together,  lifting each other up, and working together all for His Glory. Let the river flow like living water, my sisters of Huay Wai.

We are honored and excited to come alongside you, to learn from you, be inspired by you, and most of all to love on you! 

Learn more by going to the Projects page @ www.ITDPinternational.org