In 2008 as a family we travelled to Thailand. We wanted to spend some of our time working in a volunteer project and found ourselves at the elephant mahout project.
The experience changed our lives; we fell completely in love with the elephants and their Mahouts and families. We learnt about the culture surrounding the elephants and their Mahouts and the day to day difficulties facing them in a modern world.
They showed us such kindness and warmth and a gentle way of life in a culture very different to our own.
In a subsequent trip we discovered Boon Lott's Elephant Sanctuary; BLES, an incredible elephant sanctuary near Sukhothai, again we fell in love with all the elephants and wonderful people here. We have been captivated by the work that is going on here and the sanctuary’s plans for the future, we fully support and work closely with BLES and have been honoured to be a part of several rescues to the sanctuary.
Follow www.blesele.org to read more about this amazing sanctuary for elephants and all the other animals in their care.
Lotus; a beautiful gentle elephant who lives at BLES
Asian elephants and indeed their Mahouts are facing a difficult and uncertain future. Wild elephants are on the decline and Thailand’s captive population of elephants face a multitude of complex problems. But there are projects working hard to not only save the species but also to improve the lives of the elephants and their Mahouts.
Mahouts is the trading arm of Mahouts Elephant Foundation; www.mahouts.org .We follow a fair trade model, always aiming to work on behalf of our producers to help them reach the market on the fairest possible terms. Our producers know that in working with us they can earn a decent living through their work.
We work hard to promote our ethical and fair trade model, spreading the word through our online presence and at shows we attend. We visit schools to talk about the work we do here at MAHOUTS and why it is so important to maintain our ethical and fair trade status.
From our travels in Thailand we discovered so many creative and talented people. Sarah, having trained as an interior designer was drawn to the beautiful hand crafted furniture, accessories, ceramics and hand-woven silks that we found.
As a family we decided to start MAHOUTS, a fair trade ethical business sourcing and importing ranges of handmade products mainly from very small family businesses who we deal with directly. For example we work very closely with a silk producing family in the northeast of Thailand. The ladies in the village hand weave the silk in a traditional way as they have done for generations. Sarah selects the silk for her striking designs of cushions and handbags. They are then sewn by hand by a very talented seamstress in Bangkok.
We offer a range of beautiful elephant products, all ethically sourced and fair trade. All profit from every item goes to Mahouts Elephant Foundation. We are a UK registered charity and rely completely on donations. The products we sell help local individuals and communities and also help provide a small income for our organisation.
It’s not all hard work! We remain friends with several of the Mahouts and their families who we met on our first trip here and enjoy lots of fun together when we meet up.
We are a small organisation with a big mission. We rely completely on donations and a small amount of revenue from the products we sell. We try to keep our overhead costs to a minimum and have many wonderful volunteers and businesses dedicating their time and skills. They have belief in our work and mission. Please do take time to read more about our work at www.mahouts.org We dont have offices to worry about so all funds can be directed where they are most needed. We are incredibly proud to be a registered UK charity; Registered Charity Number 1158956 and have a dynamic board in place to help and advise us. We have projects here in the UK for awareness raising and education, in Thailand and in Europe. Please do contact us if you would like to become involved in our work or have any questions at all. Thank you from us all here at Mahouts.