I have a rather faded sarong that I have carried on my travels for 25 years, using it as a towel, a sheet or even, on occasions, a piece of clothing. I bought it in the north-east of Thailand from a business set up by some enterprising nuns to help local women make a living from their traditional weaving skills. The aim was to reduce the numbers of women driven by poverty to join the sex trade in Bangkok. The business – the Village Weavers Handicrafts – has been a great success and the last I heard was still going strong. It is hard to imagine any other type of intervention that would have been ...


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