As the world changes, so we must adapt and change with it.
This has also been true for us here at Sop Moei Arts. When Sop Moei Arts first began, the main center for textile weaving and basket making lay in Mae Tola, a small village far up in the mountains of Sop Moei District. This is the area where Kent first began health work with the Pwo Karen in 1977 prior to Sop Moei Arts inception. Throughout the years, we have worked successfully with Pwo Karen in several different villages in the area.
Today, however, many of the Pwo Karen villagers we have worked with in the mountains are moving to low-lying towns, lured by better education opportunities for their children, as well as a wider scope for work. An example is Ler Ghi and her family. Ler Ghi used to live in Thi U Lu, a remote village where we currently operate. The family decided to move to Khong Phung, a small town in the lowlands, in order to be nearer their children who attend a local school there. Ler Ghi approached us about a year ago and asked if she could continue to weave for us in Hong Phung. We supplied her with a loom. Others have followed her example and wish to weave as well. In response to this demand, we have recently acquired a plot of land, on which we will shortly be building a new weaving center this winter. We look forward to continuing to offer opportunities for weaving to those who are interested and in this way expand the project further, but in a new direction.