Profile of A Salaam Wanita Weaver
Source: Advocacy.net, 18 August 2008
Foong Yee has been to our office several times.
Every time she is here, she comes in with a bright and happy smile, carrying many beautiful baskets. Foong Yee has gotten so good at her craft that she creates new designs everyday and brings them into the office for the SW staff. On one trip to her house, she produced a lamp, her latest idea made completely of recycled paper, as the eHomemakers staff and I sat in amazement.
Her creativity has been the driving force in the new products eHomemakers has developed in the last few years.
Foong Yee is a quiet shy and unassuming woman with a contagious smile.
She speaks a fair amount of English but communicates with the eHomemakers staff mostly in Cantonese. I haven't been able to have lengthy conversations with her because of the language barrier. Most of our conversations are translated by the SW staff. As I sat and watched Foong Yee weave in her house, I learned a few things about her. She came to eHomemakers in 2004. At that time she was deeply financially burdened. She was raising three small children and didn't have financial resources to keep her family going.
Foong Yee was trained by Auntie, one of the weaves who were originally trained when SW began. After only 4 years, she has become the main weave for eHomemakers in the KL area. She is also the leader of a team of four.
Her weaving team and staff at eHomemakers have come to rely on her brilliant new ideas and innovative weaving techniques. The most amazing thing about Foong Yee that I hear from the staff is the change they have seen in the past four years. eHomemakers has been more than an income generating activity for her. The program has given her the opportunity to grow as an individual.
She is an artist, a friend, a leader and a stronger woman.
I have learned that what Foong Yee appreciates most about her tie with eHomemakers is the friendships she has built. She once told the staff, "Friends are important because they can help each other."
And after the last two months here, I couldn't agree more. The friendships and eHomemakers family make this project successful.