Social Enterprises with Teja

Teja with the family of Ghulam Beigh in his cashmere shop in Pokhara, and fellow travel writer Nur Baiti Hikaru | sustainable travel | travel sustainability review | ethical travel | Travel Sustainably Nepal edition How I Tried to Travel Responsibly | Teja on the Horizon

An unexpected thing happened, as I explored running this travel blog, and tried to grow my communication skills for sustainability advocacy. People began reaching out to me, not just for help – but also to offer it. Opportunities ‘meant’ for people I met in my travels came my way. I took them, and began linking people together and boost sustainability and social enterprise projects.

I once said, in a sustainability forum, that I was not really a leader or a follower – although I can do both. However, my most natural role, is ‘catalyst’. 

In the years after I proclaimed it, the universe called me up on it. I can hardly keep up. It is as if the ground around me was fertile, and was only waiting for a gardener. 

Although not directly related to Teja on the Horizon, I feature here a couple of social enterprise projects that I am involved in somehow, as a result of my travel blogging efforts. 

I did nothing particularly special, to become involved. I only explored, went a bit outside my comfort zone, and said yes. 

Ecoteer – Precious Plastics Project

I was involved at the germination of this project in its first incarnation as a plastics reduction and recycling proof of concept project in the Perhentian Islands Marine Park. This incarnation did not survive. However, its inheritors at Ecoteer did not give up. Something shared from Teja on the Horizon’s Facebook Page inspired a second incarnation of the project as a social enterprise based on the Precious Plastics machines. 

Ecoteer ran with it, partnering with Sea Monkey Project to source and build the machines. They envision a dual-base urban-rural social enterprise project. One base will run urban upcycling training workshops in Kuala Lumpur. The other will run recycling advocacy programs as well as recover plastics waste from the marine park; the intention is to eventually turn it over to the village’s own management. 

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Ethical Cashmere | The Original Himalayan Cashmere

Ethical Cashmere | The Original Himalayan Cashmere | Kasmir-Nepal-Australia-Malaysia social enterprise

Ethical Cashmere is a social enterprise near and dear to my heart. I wrote about its origin story multiple times, on this blog, on the shop’s Facebook Page, and on the online shop itself. 

It is a story rich in millennial travel and economic concepts. The main protagonists met through forms of couchsurfing. The shop was first tested, and then set up for real, on ready-made online shopping platforms. We are a lean start-up, learning as we go, while also juggling other jobs and/or degree education. 

But we have a big ambition. Our ambition is to double weavers’ wages by 2020, and consequently help uplift their quality of life – without losing the positive community economy values of the traditional cashmere business in the Himalayas.

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