Thursday, April 26, 2007


Teashops can be found all over Asia. It’s where people meet, drink typically strong, sweet tea and eat local snacks.

Most tea shops are frequented by men and while women are beginning to be accepted, customers are still mostly men. For women there are limited public spaces to enjoy this thriving tea culture where one can meet and gossip over a cup of tea. The Borderline wanted to create a place where women and men felt welcome.

A pilot project was set up in a factory area of Mae Sot. Thousands of Burmese men and women work in the hundreds of factories and the situation in those factories is usually not very good. Long days, low wages and sometimes no wages at all. Due to illegality of many workers, they have no legal security.

One of the organisations that that supports women workers in Thailand is the Burma Women Union. They opened a tea shop in a factory area to give workers a chance to relax during a break. Borderline helped the BWU with the start of the shop, and some training in running the shop. Unfortunatly, after a few months the project had to stop, after workers in that area were arrested,and the women were too afraid to go out of their factories to visit the teashop. Hopefully this ‘mobile’ tea shop is able to re-open in the future.

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