Artisans and Farmers
“Changing people lives”
Yunnan is a multi-ethnic province in China. There are 26 minority groups living in Yunnan. 15 of which are indigenous to the province. The colorful ethnic costumes and traditional arts present a magnificent picture of diversity.
Besides the culture uniqueness in each of the minority, Danyun sees potential business possibilities. The three main Ethnic minorities involved in Danyun’s handicraft project “Threads of Yunnan” were the Yi, Miao and Lisu Minority people. Beside these three groups we used paper made by the Naxi people; hemp fabric and linen made by the Han, Hui, Miao and Yi Minority people; and Tie Dyed fabric made by the Bai Minority People.
There are also the three main Ethnic minority groups involved in the tea project “Tastes of Yunnan” are the Dai, Wa and Lahu Minority people. Currently Danyun partners with more than 600 families in the tea project.
DANYUN’S ROLE FOR THE LOCALS
Danyun works to eradicate poverty through our direct connections with low-income artisans and farmers. We market their crafts and foods, find joint solutions to their challenges, and help them grow and embrace the future.
In addition to the handicraft and tea projects, Danyun is involved in community development through training and education, as well as assisting the communities they are involved in with building houses, schools, clinics, clean drinking water etc.
We seek to inspire the people to better their own lives, make advances with new technology and training, and raise the standard of living permanently.
Danyun believes in generating sustainable rural development by creating new business opportunities, micro-enterprise projects, and fair trade products.
WHAT THE LOCALS SAY?
Danyun have already helped for many local people to improve their life conditions. The locals are willing to share with the stories of their life change.
Story of Wang Ping Fen
Wang Ping Fen is in her early fifties. She moved to Jigaize in 1996 together with her husband and 3 children after an earthquake in her village had destroyed everything they had. Coming to Jigaize they had to start a new life. They worked very hard to rebuild their lives and to pay for their children’s education.
When Danyun started Threads of Yunnan in Jigaize in 1999 Wang Ping Fen was one of the first 6 women to join the project. One of her biggest desires at that time was to get a sofa, so she had something to sit on when she came back from the fields in the evenings. Through the project, Wang Ping Fen started to save money and after one year she got her first sofa.
When she joined the project, she did not know how to read, write, or do arithmetic. Also through the project, she learned to write and read. When she wrote her name the first time, she had tears in her eyes. Now she is able to read all the names of the women in the project. She has been the project leader for several years and was one of the four women who worked as a daily manager at the production unit.
In 2007 Wang Ping Fen accompanied General Manager Bitten Hogh to Beijing for the “Entrepreneurship and Poverty Alleviation Forum” where she spoke of the work Danyun has undertaken in her village. She also enjoyed her first airplane ride and seeing famous historical sites in Beijing. When asked about the Treads project Wang Ping Fen said in her own words:
“I have become a person who is able to sing and write my own name. With the help of our teachers, I have become literate. So I am full of happiness.”
Story of Yang Hui Fen
Before the project began, it was hard to imagine that people in the countryside would be able to save and invest money into improving their hygiene. Now, some like Yang Hui Fen have begun to appreciate personal hygiene and have invested in taking care of themselves and their family’s well-being.
Story of Li Lan Fen
“Our sisters in the Danyun Company are not disgusted with us because of our poverty. On the contrary, they help and care for us. Before I took part in the embroidery project I had a sense of inferiority, but now my self-confidence is built up. I will speak if I want to speak. I will sing if I want to sing.”
Story of Ma Shi Lian
“If I had not got the help from Danyun at that time, I would not have been able to let my youngest son continue his schooling.”
Story of YiYe
Before, they could not afford meat – only vegetables – and there was no money to provide a good start for their children. With the income from the tea, they could provide their children with better nutrition and better education. They are able to buy livestock and cooking oil and salt. She also says with a smile:
“I want a house made from stone with windows and doors”.
Story of Zha La
In the early years when they started planting tea trees, the village members laughed at them. Most of the people thought:
“We cannot eat tea; tea is useless”.
At that time, people did not understand they could sell the tea and get more income. Right now, tea and coffee are the main source of income for the villagers. In 2003 the cash income was $600-800 USD/year; in 2012 cash income is more than $3000 USD/year.