Much more than a basket!

The Penan people are one of the last aboriginal tribes in Malaysian Borneo. Rapid deforestation is destroying the forest livelihoods of these people and typically results in their displacement to urban centres where they live in poverty with little or no access to schooling. Our project started with helping 30 Penan families in Miri, on the island of Borneo, in October 2014, with the simple objective of finding a way that these people can become self sustaining. The project started by providing the women of the local Longhouse training on how to weave baskets using locally available packaging material. The natural handicraft skills of these people and Penan tribal designs have combined to produce a wide range of beautiful baskets that have proved extremely popular in Miri and beyond. 100% of the proceeds of these sales, plus direct sponsorship of Penan children by both local and expat residents, has radically transformed both the living conditions of these people and their access to schooling. 

The Project

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Deforestation on Borneo Island

Terrible deforestation is occurring throughout Borneo with dramatic consequences for the Penan People !

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The Penan tribe

The Penan people are one of the last aboriginal tribes in Malaysia, living and depending completely on the forest.

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Ullen, Penan weaver in Miri

Our mission is to empower women to help themselves and their families. We buy the bags at fair value. You buy the bags from us at market price. 100 % of the profits are used to fund schooling and projects for the community.

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Education

Noah's Ark

We are working with the Noah's Ark Kindergarten in collaboration with the 10 Ringgit Club, a local NGO. For the older children, we provide the uniforms, shoes, bags, stationary and transport 

that they require to attend the local school.

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Founders of the project Shida and Isabelle

Shida has had previous experience with the Penan bags Project and her expertise has been invaluable for the success of this project.
Isabelle was the Parent Teacher Chairperson at her children's school in Miri and was asked to help the Penan community during this difficult time.

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Terima Kasih - Thank you

Penan Bags Europe may be a small project, but it has a huge heart and has touched the soul of all those involved . None of our achievements would have been possible without the help of so many volunteers and dedicated friends. Whilst we may not be able to name everyone involved, we thank them from the bottom of our heart and hope they have enjoyed the same happiness, reward and love that we have felt. It has been a real blessing for me to have met these Penan ladies and many wonderful people through this project. It is much more than just a basket - it has been the human spirit at his best !