MA IDS Thesis Projects

Date of Award

2016

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

College

College of Theology, Arts, & Sciences

Department

International Development and Service

Degree Name

International Development and Service, MA

First Supervisor

Dr. Gerd Horten

Keywords

social enterprise, entrepreneurship, micro-credit, HIV, AIDS, stigma, Thailand, hand-made crafts, artisan, economic opportunity, inequality

Abstract

During my years in graduate school, my understanding of economic inequality has further expanded. While my experience in the Peace Corps and Nepal allowed me to see it in real life, my time in school has allowed me to ground these experiences in academic literature. By means of an action research project, my goal is to create economic opportunity for the HIV/AIDS community in Chiang Mai, Thailand, through the creation of the social enterprise Trashé Designs. A social enterprise is a way to address a social challenge with a market-based solution. My social enterprise, Trashé Designs, uses recycled materials to create a variety of fashion accessories in order to provide a sustainable income for those who participate. This paper explores the success and barriers other social enterprises have faced, as well as provides a review of HIV/AIDS in Thailand and the stigma placed on individuals who have the disease. Understanding the marginalization of this community will provide the necessary context to understand why Trashé Designs, as well as other social enterprises, are important development tools in addressing problems of economic inequality.