Weavers' Profiles

Our weavers continue to conscientiously perfect their craft while nurturing their families. They depend on Eco-Basket sales to support their families or supplement the meager income they earn from doing casual jobs. The income earned from Eco-Basket sales allows them to pay for their children's school fees, put food on the table and adequately care for the health of their families. By purchasing an Eco-Basket, you establish a partnership with our women that will lead them to economic independence. Learn more about the lives you impact with every purchase.

Foong Ah Kam

Foong Ah Kam is a single mom who lives alone in a low cost city council apartment. She cycles around the neighborhood to collect old newspapers and cans. Her right hand is twisted due to a fall over a monsoon drain when she was nine. Since her family was poor, there has not been any physiotherapy for her. As a result, she uses one hand to cook, clean, carry things and rolling magazine papers for the ecobaskets.

Jenny Pong Seow Chin

Jenny was born in Ipoh in 1966. After she gave birth to stillborns, a series of tragedies striked. Her legs had to be amputated due to grangrene. Her ability to work fluctuates as she is in and out of the hospital for check-ups and treatments. She has leukemia, kidney problems, diabetes, and chronic pain in her spine. At only 47 years old, she has also had a heart attack. Despite of these problems she's eager to become more self-sufficient and earn an income with participating in the ecobasket project.


Agila resides in Kuala Lumpur. Six years ago, her husband left her after the onset of a debilitating nerve disease. She now lives with and is supported by her family in a long house. Although employment was difficult to find, she currently works from home, making Salaam Wanita Eco-Baskets and flour for Hindu prayers. She uses the income from basket sales to purchase her medications, which reduce the pain and problems associated with her disease.


Creative and observant, Azlita is one of the weaving team's specialists in flat weave baskets. She lives with her husband who is a transport worker, and three children in a flat. Her eldest boy, now eight years old, has Downs Syndrome. He goes to a special school but he needs more attention and more support at home than his younger siblings. Luckily, Azlita's husband is supportive of her weaving business. He picks up donated magazines and helps out with household chores and childcare when she is busy.

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Jasmine called her Salaam Wanita friends "builders". She said that they built her self-esteem and helped her grow in many new ways. The friendships that Jasmine had made over the years continued to help her face Lupus as well as a mental disorder. These friendships have helped her heal her scars from an abusive family life. Learn more about Jasmine and her story. Jasmine was one of the most devoted members of the eco-basket project, unfortunately, she passed away in Janurary 2010. This was a huge loss to the project. 



Kanesgawary innovated the "Designer Laundry Basket" that can be found under the "Large Baskets" category. As a mother, she was once worried that she couldn't stay home with her children who are disabled by cerebral palsy. However, she also faced the reality that without working, her family might suffer. She struggled for many years, juggling her duties as a caregiver and an income-earner. Now, she is able to work from home and use her income to support the medical and schooling costs of her children.

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Manika is a single mother living in Rumah Papan, Selangor. Her husband passed away a year and half ago after a heart attack. Learning Eco-basket weaving after her husband�s death has helped her to generate home-based income to pay for household expenses. Although she is uneducated and relies on public transport, she is determined to give herself and her son a better life through her new micro-business in Eco-Baskets.

 



Hard work is not something new to May Lee. Coming from a large family of 16 siblings, May did not have the opportunity to complete her education and had to start working from the age of 14 as a rubber tapper, a dim-sum seller and as a waitress. Learn more about May Lee and her story.

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Rajeshwari, aged 52, is a widow from Rawang, Selangor, with two sons aged 29 and 31. Both sons are earning low salaries as unskilled workers. Rajeshwari has been facing financial difficulties since her husband�s death a few years ago. Having enough money to buy food, after paying all her daily expenses, is difficult for the poor weaver since she is also suffering from arthritis, diabetes and gastritis. Living a life with enough food to eat and not have to worry about her daily expenses is her biggest dream.

 

 


In 2004 Soo Yoke Cheng was thrown into a world alien to her. It was the year her husband died and left her to raise three young children. Without any family and friends to turn to for support, Cheng was suddenly forced to navigate uncharted waters. Already accustomed to caring for her children and home, she now faced the challenge of supporting her young family and paying the bills. Salaam Wanita has become an integral part of Cheng's personal growth and ability to care for her family. Read more about Cheng's story.


Fondly referred to as "Auntie", Tan is a very bubbly and kind woman. By continuously passing her knowledge about weaving on to new weavers, she has kept the craft alive. Auntie brightens our days with the constant smile on her face and twinkle in her eyes. It is hard to imagine this wonderful woman struggles daily with diabetes. Read more to learn about Auntie's courage through her struggles.

Toh Oy Sim (deceased)

Toh Oy Sim and her husband face severe medical problems that leave her family very vulnerable. Her education and work experience are suitable for factory work; however, her fragile health condition leaves her unable to work under such conditions and long hours. Toh Oy Sim joined the weaving team because, like the rest of our women, she is still determined to earn an income and remain as independent as possible.


Back in 2004, it would be difficult to imagine that this shy unassuming woman was capable of coordinating a weavers group. She was exceptionally shy, and lacked the confidence to even look someone in the eye and ask questions when she didn't understand an order. Today she is the leader of a group of five weavers. She maintains and distributes the group's raw materials, offers further training to the women and assigns women to different parts of the basket weaving process. She does all this while juggling her duties at home and caring for her three young children.


Norarita is our team's Superwoman. As a mother of four growing boys, she is a very busy woman, yet Norarita has managed to form a team of weavers in Ipoh. Despite facing the challenges of raising two children with special needs, Norarita has continued to grow and overcome the challenges of her circumstances.


Norzihan is an Ipoh-based Eco-Basket weaver. She attended basket-weaving using discarded magazine papers and now weaves from home while tending to her 17 year-old son, who is suffering from cerebral palsy. Every day is a challenge to this gutsy mother but she faces each hurdle with confidence and optimism.



Now more than ever Tan Siew Nyok needs to earn additional income. Her son has just begun his university studies and needs money for tuition and living expenses. He will be the first person in her family who will have the opportunity to earn a college education. In addition, Tan must also provide a stable and enriching environment for her younger son in order for him to have the same opportunities to further his education.


Uma is a young mother living in a low-income flat with her husband and two children in Kuala Lumpur. She long wanted to contribute to her husband's income, while also caring for her children. She found a way after discovering the opportunity afforded by the Salaam Wanita Project. Today, Uma is in training, learning how to make wine baskets and pencil holders among other items. She hopes to soon contribute to her family's income, giving her children the chance to participate in tuition.