Mulberries is a social enterprise that seeks to create income generating opportunities for Lao people in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.
It was established in 1995 by Kommaly Chanthavong.
Today, the company is working with more than 2000 villages in five provinces, specialising in the production of naturally-dyed, handmade Lao silk. They provide training, tools and a market for village people who wish to work for a sustainable future.
The production of traditional silk is also a way to encourage village self sufficiency and productivity by involving many people in many different aspects of the community from the growing of mulberry trees to the creation of natural dyeing. Mulberries utilizes local labour, local knowledge and local resources.
The company is also promoting environmental awareness in the villages where they work by stressing the the economic rewards of growing mulberry trees with organic fertilizers and therefore encouraging sustainable alternatives to opium production and burn agriculture. They are also promoting the beautiful traditional natural dyes, which are more environmentally friendly than commercially available dyes.
The successful marketing of the products provides a fair and steady income to several hundred families, supporting the socio-economic development of local communities. By bringing their products and stories to global market places, they also connect and foster an understanding between consumers and producers.
During my stay at the Mulberries organic silk farm, I discovered all the silk processing from the growing of mulberry trees to the natural dyeing and weaving.
I was very well received by Bouavone, the farm manager, who presented me the Mulberries initiative and helped me to better understand the silk process. I was very impressed by their work to build close relationships with Lao village producers and to advance an ecological, economic, cultural and socially sustainable Lao silk and handicraft enterprise.
Here you can watch the video interview I made with Bouavone to present Mulberries :
For more informations about Mulberries : http://www.mulberries.org/