The Pakistani and Sri Lankan Community
The Pakistani and Sri Lankan communities are a very diverse group. They have different religions, cultures, and ethnicities. However, they are united by their love and passion for the arts. Henna designs not only allow them to express themselves, but also create a bond between the artist and the consumer.
Henna design, an ancient traditional form of body adornment, has held many significant meanings throughout the years. Traditionally, it has been worn for many ceremonial practices such as weddings. Much of Henna art is created spontaneously and intuitively, without much thought or planning. Henna is a largely communicative experience with the artist and the bearer, opening a spiritual connection and gifted blessings.
Through a three-day interactive workshop, we engage with communities to strengthen women's morale, confidence, and understanding. With various presentations by several guest speakers, participants are educated on their rights leading to further empowerment. Participants also learn how to design products and what it means to run a successful business.
We work with an incredibly talented and diverse group of women from different backgrounds including Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Through CHAMALiiN, they are able to generate income and support their families while they start new lives in Bangkok.
Get to know our Communities
The Hmong Community
Our Hmong community come from the upper and central highlands of Vietnam and Laos. Hmong people are an important ethnic minority with rich tradition and culture. They greatly value unity within their community and prioritize familial structure. Traditional skills such as embroidery and sewing are passed down from family to family, allowing their unique craft to develop over many generations.
Hmong embroidery, or paj ntaub (pronounced "pan dow"), was traditionally used to symbolize nature and animals. Paj ntaub translates to "flower cloth," and the swirls and geometric designs in vivid pinks, reds, greens and blues that are commonly used in Hmong embroidery reflect this. According to oral history in the Hmong community, women hid their ancestral language within their embroidery, but this language has been lost through the years. Within the community, girls learn how to sew at a young age, copying motifs from their mothers and grandmothers.
Our craftswomen's embroidery is beautiful from the inside out. Each product is made with the utmost care and attention and reflects days of work. Traditional craftsmanship is infused into all of our products. The techniques handed down from generation to generation not only look beautiful but also tell a story about our artisans' heritage, traditions, and lives.
Many of our Hmong craftswomen face a language barrier resulting from their sudden migration from Vietnam. Many only speak Hmong or Vietnamese and some Thai; very few speak English. CHAMALiiN's Education Project seeks to empower the community and provide more opportunities to improve their livelihoods through teaching basic English language and business skills.