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CWG – Chin Women Group in Mae Sot

Nu Tae, founder CWG

Chin Women Group (CWG) was founded in Mae Sot, Thailand, in June 2001. The purpose of the group is to provide income for the members of the group, and to help preserve the handicraft skills within the Chin community, by making and selling handicraft items and also recently, by training young women to preserve the skills of traditional handicraft.

The mountainous Chin State in the Northwest of Myanmar is one of the poorest regions in an already poor country. A large part of the population lives in remote places, struggling to get by with subsistence farming. Other sources of income are very limited, and many young people therefore move away from Chin state and try their luck in Yangon or Mandalay, or across the border in Thailand. They often end up in poorly paid jobs and unstable employment situations, and the Chin region loses a link to the future.

CWG founder Nu Tae decided together with some friends to find a better way to generate income for the Chin people, while at the same time preserving the traditional skills and the culture. In the beginning, the group mainly sold their products at a local market in Mae Sot, but today, Chin Women Group are also a part of Borderline Collective, hoping to reach a broader consumer base for their handicrafts.

Most of the fabric that CWG uses comes from the Chin state in Myanmar. It is then transported to Mae Sot, in Thailand, where four young women create bags and accessories with designs that incorporate the traditional fabric into modern designs. In addition to traditional Chin fabric, CWG also uses their own hand-loomed fabric

Borderline Collective, Mae Sot

Borderline Collective in Mae Sot, Thailand

Borderline Collective is located in Mae Sot, which is about the closest you get to Myanmar, while still being on the Thai side of the border. The shop/restaurant/art gallery/creative space was started with the purpose of supporting migrant and refugee women from Myanmar, by helping the women sell their handmade products. The women are organized in smaller, autonomous, collectives based in the small villages along the border, and Borderline Collective provides a space for the women to showcase their products, and thus reach a larger customer base.

Borderline Collective in Mae Sot, Thailand

Borderline Collective is located in Mae Sot, which is about the closest you get to Myanmar, while still being on the Thai side of the border. The shop/restaurant/art gallery/creative space was started with the purpose of supporting migrant and refugee women from Myanmar, by helping the women sell their handmade products. The women are organized in smaller, autonomous, collectives based in the small villages along the border, and Borderline Collective provides a space for the women to showcase their products, and thus reach a larger customer base.

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