EBT | Exotic Borneo Treasures

A Small Purchase with A Big Impact!

Where it all began…

It began with an idea actually, an idea about helping others.  But how?

Starting up a company for a social enterprise is not an easy task especially since it is a fairly new concept in Malaysia and being new in business in this area.  But having a mentor from the Cherie Blair Mentoring Women in Business Programme has been a tremendous help.  Annette Cederberg helped Gina find her way and put this plan in motion.  For one year, Annette guided and provided Gina with the knowledge, skills and her expertise to set the plan in motion.

A brain storming session one night with a fellow mentee, Lenore helped Gina realize she wanted to help the people of Sabah (Borneo), specifically the people native to this land.  Annette step by step coached Gina with preparing a business and marketing plan but most importantly to find a team to work with.  Gina has always had a passion for social work and education, Noor has always been a nature lover and fashion addict and Lenore lives happily in the Marketing and Public Relations world.

All three women are driven to create this platform and business thanks to their desire to help the people of their home state.  During a trip to a rural village, they saw first-hand how the villagers lived and were shocked to find out that many of them are farmers on a subsistence level, a majority of the women do not work but run the household and take care of their children.

Early education is available in their village but some find it difficult to even pay the minimal fee of RM25 (USD 6.70), that shocked the ladies because they believe that every child should have a right to an education.  In a one income household with an average of RM100 (USD 26.30), life can be tough and challenging.

So began, many trips to Kudat, a hometown of many Rungus people.  The Rungus ladies are well known for their beautiful crafted jewelry.  With their trusted driver/ body guard/ silent partner (who always has good solid advice) Francis, they moved ahead and started collaborating with the talented craft makers.

Thus, began the journey on refreshing their knowledge of the tribe, learning more about beads and creating new designs.  These artisans will receive funds from the profits of the items sold online.  So your purchase is imperative in making a difference.

Being able to give back to the people of Borneo (Sabah) and making others from around the world feel good is what they strive for.

“We hope that this social enterprise will help others and bring more attention to the beauty in Sabah, help keep this tradition alive as well as increase awareness of the important issues in this fair state.” – The ladies of EBT

Gina Vun, founder of Exotic Borneo Treasures, poses for a portrait with a group of Rungus tribes women she works with in the community hall of Tinangol village, in Kudat, Sabah, Malaysia on May 2nd, 2016. Gina is a mentee in the CBF mentorship program, and has been using her online sales business to benefit the Rungus tribal people in continuing their bead-making tradition sustainably. Photo by Suzanne Lee/Panos Pictures for Cherie Blair Foundation
Have no product in the cart!