In early March 2011, Humanitarian Photographer Jeffrey Chapman sent out a simple tweet asking for help for a very small non profit group in Thailand called AmFree. A project by Jaime Yeretzian. While I could try and describe her story – my original email from Jeffrey does a much better job:
The organization is called AmFree Karen. It’s run by an American girl, Jaime, who lives in an orphanage in the middle of nowhere on the border of Thailand in order to be close to the women who work on the project. (The women are in a village near the orphanage but not part of the orphanage.) Basically she has taught them to knit. They’re making wool ski hats. They’re very nice hats, and the women involved in the project have a blast when they meet for their knitting circles. I had a great time with them.
Jaime has a website (http://www.amfreekaren.com/), but it could be a lot better. She’s done an amazing job at teaching these women to knit and is currently selling the hats at a single ski shop in Utah. If she could expand the market, then she could train a lot more women, including those in the nearby Mae La refugee camp. Women in that camp have virtually nothing to do as they wait for resettlement, which can take more than a decade. This issue is particularly close to me as I do a lot of work locally with Karen refugees who are being resettled in the US. So I’m kind of attracted to this project because it helps a group that I’m already personally invested in helping but also because it’s well-organized, well-run and is providing a real and viable opportunity to women in need.
Let me know if it sounds interesting to you.
I enjoy Jeffrey’s work and responded by offering to answer questions to help get things started. While Jeffrey is so kindly giving me more credit then I feel I deserve, it’s important that this site was the work and creation of Jaime. The website has been running for about two months now using e-junkie as the payment/product manager on top of the very easy to use Weebly wysiwyg platform. The two in combination allows for fairly easy maintenance with no fees or html experience.
I wish Jaime much success.