The design makes the equipment even more handy. But the good design has no need to be created by only professional designer, such as Nongkhran Thimano who has been living with talent and perseverance to design her products and has a successful business eventually.
The 53 years old woman named Nongkhran Thimano said, “I already have sewing skill and also like to design a strange pattern as the style I like. With trial and error, the bag to the general shape has been created to be the popular item,” Nongkhran described the initiative of sewing business to produce cloth bags. This craft business operated by “Ban Thung Lao Sewing Group”, Chiang Mai province, which is the career support by World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVFT) to increase the family income of needy children through the Child Sponsorship Programme pursued by WVFT (Mae On Area Development Programme). Initially, the group had 7 members and all of them are the parents of sponsored children. Most of the parents are engaged in corn cultivation and be general workers. These poverty stricken families have low income but high debt.
“The members did not have any industrial sewing machine in their workplace so WVFT supported 4 sewing machines. We had a lot of purchase orders then the unemployed housewives were interested to practice sewing,” Nongkran told the background of sewing group with her pride to be able to help others.
Products of the group were very popular and the purchase orders were much higher. Members of sewing group had the swift increase to 18 persons and 43 persons at a later time. There was a group savings of one hundred baht per each person to expand the production line. However, the group still had a problem with the capital because each month they had to use working capital more than seven hundred thousand baht, so the group had to ask for help from WVFT again, in the form of borrowing money for community enterprise development worth three hundred thousand baht to enhance liquidity as working capital to help the group overcame the crisis in that period.
“What we have done is the best. We are happy and enjoy sewing, and we also try to make the best quality,” Nongkhran told the basic principle of the group that help them continue this business until now, the 25th year. The production of cloth bag has been developed in the design and fine sewing technique so the bag is registered as OTOP product guarantee quality. It also received the Chiang Mai Community Product Quality Certificate. Nongkhran's products are available in the market, such as the various shape of cloth bags, small and large size of backpacks, shoulder bags with owl pattern, etc. We also produce the bags for WVFT to be sold under the brand “Community Connext”.
Remark: OTOP stands for “One Tambon (meaning sub-district) One Product”. It is a local entrepreneurship stimulus program which aims to support the unique locally made and marketed products of each Thai Tambon all over Thailand.
In addition, the members also received the training of group management so they can continue to work consistently and firmly. Those who have been unemployed earn about six thousand to ten thousand baht per month. The increasing income helps each member to be able to clear their debt and now they are happy with sufficient living.
“The debt is gone. Without the help from WVFT, I will not be able to have a good life like this,” said Nongkhran Thimano, Chief of sewing group. She smiled and added, “My eldest daughter named, Nong Ying, has been sponsored since she was in grade 5 and now she already graduated from university. Thank you very much to the sponsor and WVFT.”