Teepaw – meaning ‘water flower’ – is a business that uses traditional fabrics and materials to create beautiful clothes, bags and dolls for the community. With a love of craft and making things, owner Jennifer ‘Teepaw’ Lowe has been growing the business since 1999, when she moved with her Australian husband and daughter to Canberra. Originally from Karen in Burma, Jennifer believes Teepaw helps to keep the Karen culture alive through craft and the tradition of weaving strong. She teaches others to weave and design, bringing joy and support to women. “When I was young I never had a chance to do craft. Even though I’m now older, I love it… It is a hobby I’m paid for.”
Jennifer’s passion is to help those who’ve suffered like she has – having fled violence from her home, living in a refugee camp along the Thai-Burma border in 1984. In addition to weaving for her business Teepaw, Jennifer helps refugees get around language barriers so that they can find work in Australia, be financially independent, and support their families. Her mix of languages helps – fluent in Karen, Po-Karen, Burmese and Thai! She has sponsored her aunt to come to Australia, which has had a ripple effect, bringing more and more Karen people to enjoy life in Canberra.