"<i>Sawasdee ka,</i> I'm Sumalee from Isan, in northeastern Thailand, and I come from a family dedicated to gardening flowers. As a child I helped by storing and jasmines as well as fresh banana leaves to sell in at the ceremonies held throughout the year in my village.<br><br>"I remember sitting next to my grandmother when she was weaving silk. She planted mulberry trees and raised the silkworms herself. I would also help her as much as I could, by feeding the silkworms with mulberry leaves, boiled cocoons, etc.<br><br>"When I was 10 years old, I moved along with my mother to Lampan, where my aunt lived. She wove cotton tablecloths, bedspreads, pillowcases, etc. Every evening after school, I would help her tie tassels on the bedspreads fringe. When I graduated the sixth grade, I wasn't able to continue unto high school with my friends because my mother did not have enough funds.<br><br>"So, I worked at a Thai dessert store, starting as an apprentice until I could make several things. I was able to continue my studies and eventually got a vocational certificate in Accounting and I financed my studies by selling my aunt's products at the Night Bazaar.<br><br>"After I graduated I worked for a Christian organization for 17 years. Their mission was to help those less fortunate. I met many people, most of them were older people who were unemployed and had no one to look after them. So, I arranged for simple jobs for them that could generate revenue for them as well as recreational activities to reduce their stress.<br><br>"However, I became exhausted from work, so I decided to resign and I spent my savings investing in different things, such as a flower shop, a restaurant, a cafe, and a souvenir shop. However, since my only experience had been in non-profit organizations, I ended up losing most of my capital.<br><br>"One day, as I was walking on the street I noted some small wooden beads on a bag, and I thought that this was a material that is hardly used and yet was a good decorative accent. I decided to invest again, taking a risk with the money I had left.<br><br>"I started with half a kilo of wooden beads and I started threading necklaces by hand. I made a few necklaces with bright, noticeable colors and I began selling them on the streets. My necklaces caught the attention of tourists, who liked them because they were affordable, lightweight, and beautiful.<br><br>"And so my life revived! This time, I gradually added new designs, I was more careful with my money, and I promised myself that I would work as intended, and would not fail again.<br><br>"My necklaces have been incredibly accepted because even though they are made from small wooden beads that look very ordinary on their own, when I thread them together the necklace can make the wearer stand out a lot. I continue to help the older people from the foundation. They help me by binding and tying the cords calmly and beautifully, for which of course they are handsomely paid.<br><br>"Now I sell at Night Bazaar and a friend I made there has been very helpful with her timely advice. You may know her as another featured artisan, she is Chirada and she is very glad to know that I will join the family. Hope all of you will welcome and support my works. Thank you."