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Upaya means "solution" in Nepali. We are dedicated to building communities, collaborating with indigenous tribes, sharing knowledge of their traditions, and supporting them to keep their culture and heritage alive in the modern world.


Our Vision

UPAYA was born out of a vision I had during my conversations with native tribes in Asia. I observed the detrimental effects of corruption on these people, how tourism only benefited the wealthy, and how the tribes were left in poverty. Our vision is to serve as a bridge for indigenous tribes from around the globe by providing them a platform to share their handicrafts with people worldwide. This way, we can preserve their heritage and keep their culture alive. This is the vision that drives us every day.

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Our Story

In 2017, during my first visit to Vietnam near the SAPA region, I noticed some Hmong tribal women begging on the streets. This surprised me since I knew that their handicrafts were in high demand.

The Hmong are a significant ethnic minority in Vietnam, comprising around 900,000 people. They are a vibrant and colorful group in a world that is increasingly becoming monochromatic. The dominant colors and patterns of a Hmong group's traditional clothing, as well as the design of their headdress, often tell a story. Their textile art, also known as story cloths, is made by women and has been used in ritual ceremonies to pass down history from one generation to the next. For the Hmong people, their handcrafted clothes are the primary nonverbal means of communication.

I approached one of the younger members of the community who spoke English and asked why they were begging on the streets. She told me that because China was mass producing fake replicas of their tribal handicrafts and selling them for much less, no one was buying their handmade products. This forced them to beg on the streets and live in abject poverty. I was deeply disturbed by this, as it meant that the Hmong had not only lost something unique and rooted in their culture but were also struggling to make ends meet.

This experience inspired me to take action. I left my corporate job and founded Upaya, with the goal of supporting tribes from all over the world and making their products accessible to people in the modern world. Our journey began in Vietnam, and we are committed to providing a source of income for these talented artisans while also preserving their cultural heritage.

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