"I love making Lisu handicrafts, it's a way for me to preserve and protect my traditions for the coming generations."
"Sawad dee krub. My name is Jakkarin Yakhet and I was born on 22 July 1967 in Mae-Hong-Sorn. I am from the Lisu hill tribe, and I am the youngest of five siblings. I come from a family of farmers and gardeners. My father and my older brother work hard in the fields, and my mother and my sister weave fabrics and make hill tribe handicrafts like key chains and decorative motifs for handbags and shoulder bags. I used to help my father in the field, as well as my mother, by making fabrics and sewing costumes. I learned to make Lisu handicrafts and woodcarvings when I was young.
"In our family we get on well with each other, we love and care for each other. I left school at grade four, and then I tried to read and write by myself. I moved to Chiang Mai after I got married, and we had a daughter. I worked hard but earned a small income to provide for my family. Then I met a friend who found a job for me in the border between Thailand and Burma. I worked as a carpenter as well as a security guard for a camp. However, there had been some fighting between the Burmese army and a minority group, and there were many killed. I couldn't return home or contact my family for two years – they thought I was dead.
"When I finally made it back home, I found that my wife had remarried and had started a new family in Samaeng District. I decided to leave and start all over again. I took on many jobs until I started to carve wood sculptures again. I also started to build a family with my second wife. She is Lisu too, and now we have another child. I always go to visit my daughter, and my two children get along very well.
"We are dedicated to handicrafts and woodcarvings, though sometimes I work as a tour bus driver to provide for my family better. I do my job with my heart and my love. My motto is to do the best thing, in the correct way.
"I am a Christian, and I believe in my religion's teaching. I love making Lisu handicrafts, it's a way for me to preserve and protect my traditions for the coming generations.
"My challenges for the future include being able to provide for my family, and using my talents to work hard and with love. My wife and I make handbags and shoulder bags together, which we embroider by hand. We use local materials that are easy to find, and that are natural, especially cotton.
"I love doing what I do, and I would like for the world to know more about Lisu hill tribe products. That is why I would like to thank Novica for helping me to make Lisu artistry known to collectors around the world. Your interest in Lisu handicrafts will help preserve my traditions."