XIAO CHENG WONG
Born to a carpenter father and a dressmaker mother, Xiao Cheng Wong understood the value of resilience and creativity in the face of struggles from an early age. “I developed a heart for the poor and needy, and creating, building things comes naturally to me,” she says.
When Xiao Cheng started Earth Heir, she knew she was on the right track. Earth Heir is one of the pioneering social enterprises in Malaysia that work with multiple marginalised communities and skilled artisans across Malaysia through varied heritage and art forms. Some of the collectives benefitted include women cooperatives, indigenous tribes and refugees from different countries.
“We work with different materials such as mengkuang, bamboo, rattan, textiles and so on to create products such as gifts, bags, jewellery, stationery and now also reusable masks. Each piece of our products is a beautiful blend of design, heritage skills and stories of the makers. We are also the only Malaysian boutique that is certified fair trade by the World Fair Trade Organisation,” Xiao Cheng explains.
“I believe being aware of our own identity, accepting our own culture and background can be a powerful thing. It sounds simple, but it can truly transform self-esteem and dignity when we embrace our heritage,” the social entrepreneur asserts. “Whenever our artisans learn one of their pieces has landed in (foreign) cities, in the hands of people who truly treasure these heritage skills, their sense of pride in being Malaysian with a unique combination of identities is very much priceless.”
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