Weʼre raising money to fund a new workspace for MORINGA

 

Myanmar is a country made up of over 135 ethnic groups.  To capture the beauty and diversity of the textiles of these groups, two Japanese women have established a new brand called ‘Moringa’.  Moringa’s produces bags that capture the beauty of these Myanmar textiles.  These fabrics,which are rich in the unique histories and cultures of each ethnic group are passed down through the generations.  The founders of Moringa envision creating a space where local Myanmar women can develop their skills to produce quality products.  

 

 


Thank you for visiting our website.  We are the representatives of the brand ‘Moringa’, Maya Imano and Chika Mizuguchi.  Moringa produces bags that are stylish and functional using traditional Myanmar fabrics. ‘Moringa’ was started in Myanmar with a vision to share Myanmar’s beautiful textile culture with the world as well as supporting the local economy. The creators of these handbags are local disadvantaged women who, through the training they receive, are able to provide for their families. Through their partnership with Moringa, they women become skilled seamstresses. 

 

The fabrics used by Moringa come from Myanmar’s diverse ethnic communities and differ greatly in color and design..  The diversity of these traditional fabrics reflects the lifestyles, environment and climate of the peoples who make and use them.   As a result, the fabrics vary in their materials, construction and use, depending on where they come from.  Many of the fabrics in the more tropical south are made with cotton or cotton silk blends because they light and breathable. The fabrics produced in mountainous regions of the North are relatively thicker and often made with cotton wool blends.

 

 

Unfortunately the traditional textiles of Myanmar are generally limited to the use of Ronjie (Myanmar’s traditional clothes) and unknown to the rest of the world.  Also due to industrialisation in Myanmar, traditional textiles in some areas are used less and their availability is decreasing.  We feel at Moringa can do our part to help keep Myanmar’s beautiful textile industry thriving.  We wanted to create something by using local artistry and skills to make products which locals feel proud of.  By trial-and-error we decided to produce a variety of handbags which draw on the beauty and charm of Myanmar’s textiles.  

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately, Moringa currently does not have a production space. At this time, we have no other choice but to ask our producers to work from their homes.  It is essential for Moringa to establish a workshop where the producers can collaborate and create their products.  In a workshop, our seamstresses can communicate with each other, be trained in new techniques and styles and hone their skills to pass their knowledge onto the next generation. This workshop will also help the women to feel confident in their work in that it will formalize their jobs as vital and productive members of our team.  We ask for your support in establishing a Moringa workshop so that these women can continue to create these special handbags.

 

  


We are very different in our backgrounds and skills.
However because of our differences we feel confident to create and nurture。

I am one of the two representatives of Moringa, Maya Imano.
We, the two representatives of the brand, come from different places and very different backgrounds.

Let us tell you a bit about how Moringa was born.
After having worked as a stylist, I came to Yangon to live in 2015 because of my husband’s work.  There were times initially when I first arrived in Yangon when I felt physically and mentally fragile due to the change in the environment and the challenges of living in a developing country such as Myanmar. However once I became accustomed to life here, I started noticing many positive things including the kindness and friendliness of the Myanmar people.  I also became attuned to the realities of poverty and suffering for many people here that lies just beyond the fast-paced economic development of the country.


There is no affordable medical system and the economic gaps are widening.  The employment systems are unjust as is the education system. I experienced a huge culture shock when I listed to the stories of the hardships indured by many Myanmar people.

I understood the awful living conditions of many of my Myanmar friends and the many daily struggles they faced. Wanting to help in some small way.  I was trying to understand how best how I could be of help in Myanmar.  I wondered if education could be helpful?  What kind of education or capacity building could I offer?  I thought perhaps my experiences as professional stylist, of having worked with many talented Japanese and foreign designers could help in some way.  This was around the time that I met Mizuguchi who pushed me to take a big step forward.

Chika Mizuguchi has been a leader of a Myanmar NGO for over a decade. She is Japanese but married to a Myanmar man and closely connected in her local community.  She has been trying to find ways to help Myanmar people to export their quality handicrafts overseas.  She has a vision to support local productions through local networks and the connections and commitement to make it happen. This is how Moringa was started - by two women from different backgrounds with the same vision.

 


We at Moringa make sure to get to know the women that we work with.  This helps us to understand their individual circumstance so that we can assist them to work at their own pace and in their own capacity.  The more effort they put in , the more they benefit.  We believe in an ethical and sustainable business model where one’s efforts are appropriately rewarded.

The rent is high and transportation systems are unreliable in Myanmar.  We envisage building a workshop in the community where most of our partners live to ensure their accessibility to work.

 

We are planning to build a sewing workroom/workshop where at least five staff members can work in their own community.  This workshop will enable the staff to work collaboratively with each other while learning and earning.  Staff can also remain at home and work when they need to, as many of our partners juggle their work with us with the responsibilities of caring for their homes and children.  They can visit the workshop easily a few times a week for training or to check with the coordinators on their progress when they need to.  We want to be able to offer various options for each woman’s unique work style and circumstances.

 

 

At the moment all the main center of production for Moringa is in Imano’s home. She oversees all the cutting of the fabric and supervises each of the sewing jobs there. For every ten bags that are produced, she conducts quality control. When an error is detected in a production process or the quality level is not met, Imano clarifies the issues with the staff and brainstorms solutions using a collaborative approach.  It would be much easier to carry out this labor-intensive process if there existed a space for this work.   The work would be less stressful and more effective in a workshop setting, allowing us to further scale up our project to meet the growing demand,

 

We believe that people will use our bags for a long time because of their high quality, unique fabrics and the functional styles that we offer.  We strive to continuously develop our staff members’ skills and our knowledge to produce bags in partnership with them.  The creation of a workshop for Moringa will bring us closer to that goal.

 


OUR FUTURE

 

We would like Moringa’s clients to be able to learn about the stories and hear about the lives of the women that produce their bags. We want our clients to understand and be proud of the ways in which they help support these women by buying their products. In addition, in someday, we hope to be able to show the women that work with us articles in high fashion magazines of women all over the world that are proudly using the handbags they created.

 

The name Moringa comes from a deciduous tree which originates in Myanmar and India.  These trees are very strong and vigorous and recently even touted as a super food.  When I first moved to Myanmar I was so moved by the greeneries such as Moringa seen in Yangon.  Moringa, the plant, is very strong and hardy but is also quite delicate and beautiful.  We named our project Moringa hoping that our products capture the beauty of the Myanmar culture and can brighten up the lives of our customers.

 

HOW TO HELP

 

Unfortunately, vie this website, only Japanese introduction about donation through credit card/bank account is available.

 

If you need English introduction, please contact me through Moringa facebook page.

 

https://www.facebook.com/moringamm/

 

Thank you for the kind help!

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