Get to Know Penan Women Project
THE WEAVING PROJECT
Penan Women Project (PWP), a social enterprise with the mission to empower Penan women and their families to improve their lives through high quality traditional and innovative weaving.
PWP focuses on 3 unique elements in creating high-quality handwoven products:
• Sustainable alternative: Using plastic strapping belt (Polypro- pylene - P5) as it is durable, washable, re-usable, colourful and recycable. Compare to rattan which is hard to search and harvest from the forest as well as time consuming to process for weaving.
• Design, Heritage & Innovation: Inspired from living in the jungle, PWP supports them in product development, design and quality control. Their intricate patterns are the perfect bond of nature, design, tradition and innovation.
• Social Impact: The key towards continuous improvement in their social wellbeing is that the partnership with 60 Penan weavers and their families is built with great respect, honour and trust.
Together, we believe that this is one step closer to break the cycle of poverty within the Penan community and ensuring the continuity of their exclusi
The behind scene
The PWP operate by providing the Penan women weavers with product design, material and tools. Our weavers are guided by their respective group leader who is herself an expert in weaving and who is also often the one who weaves the prototype designed by our designer. This prototype is use in guiding her group of weavers during production.
She also acts as a translator and communicator between PWP and the weavers. Maintaining transparency between PWP and weavers is important - payments made to and received by each weaver are documented to ensure that weavers are correctly compensated for the work they produced. Feedback on weavers’ workmanship is shared so as to maintain high level of consistency and quality standard on every PWP product.
WHY & HOW?
While we would love to use rattan in our woven products, the inconsistent supply and time required to harvest and prepare the rattan for use is simply too long. The PP strapping belt becomes a modern substitute as it is durable, washable (yes, you can simply rinse your woven products with normal soap and water) and comes in various fashionable and exciting colours. The use of PP strapping belt becomes our way of putting a new spin on an age-old craft.
Beyond social enterprise
Besides the weaving project, PWP also assists the Penan with basic medical and maternity care e.g. by paying for medical bills and providing milk powder, food, funeral expenses and transport fees for the sick.
One of our weaver, Wendy. who has been working together since 2015 from first time using PP as weaving material then became group leader for PWP weavers of Long Kevok, Long Latie, Long Karangan and Long Urang. When the pandemic effected all of their income, she asked for support in helping her to embark a new venture. With microloan, she managed to set up a small sundry shop in her village, Long Kevok. We hope to impact more Penan women to start their own business/ farm.
s for our quality and exceptional service. Each year brings improvements to our store, and with it an increased ability to offer our clients even more great products.
Weaver's Team Work
Few of our weavers work on the pineapple farming in Ulu Baram, 1200 of pineapple seeding were given to start the project.
MD2 Pineapple farming ~ Pilot Project at Long Nen (July 2019)
Rural Out Reach
Project Shine Ulu Sarawak, a community give back activity we try to do annually. We bring different groups of people, bring medicine, volunteer doctors, collecting and distributing donations to the remote Penan villages who are not in our weaving project.