This project will support a new social enterprise to become fully operational. The business is a mulberry and moringa farm, selling tea and health products from the two trees. The business already has export markets, and needs some initial capital investment to enable it to then become profitable. The company is run by a woman from a minority ethnic group, and she has a heart to help her own people escape poverty. Her farm operates as a space where ethnic young adults and youths can come to learn skills and gain work experience, as well as avoid drug addiction. Her aim is to model the skills required to succeed in modern life so that the next generation of her people will have the skills to thrive.
WHAT WE LIKE ABOUT IT
The business owner is passionate about her people and helping the young amongst them to learn skills and earn a living. She has also shown great initiative in getting her business to the stage it is now. She is already exporting a small amount of product (Natashia highly recommends the mulberry leaf tea!) and is forging ahead to increase her capacity to make the business sustainable. She is also already supporting a number of her people, with young adults living on the farm in dorm style accommodation while receiving mentoring and training.
The budget equates to USD12,506. This amount will build a water tower and install a water tank atop it, finish a tea processing house, allow for new tea boxes to be created and purchase capsule production equipment.
Minority ethnic groups in Laos are often developmentally behind the rest of Laos. This is no different for this ethnic group. Many are unemployed or involved in subsistence agriculture, and alcoholism and drug addiction rates are high. There are few pathways out of poverty, and few positive role models for the young to emulate.