Tjanpi Desert Weavers is a very successful social enterprise created by the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Women's Council to support Aboriginal women living in the remote Australian Central and Western deserts.
The Tjanpi (meaning ‘wild harvested grass’) enterprise now comprises hundreds of women from 26 remote communities across three states – Western Australia, Northern Territory and South Australia - who earn an income by weaving beautiful and unique products from local grasses. The weavers choose where and when they work, they can have their family with them when they work and they can take their family out to country on trips to collect the grasses.
Tjanpi is more than an income generation enterprise. It is a well being and cultural exchange program. Aboriginal women come together on country, collect grass, sculpt and weave, sing and dance and keep culture strong whilst creating beautiful fibre art. When collecting desert grasses, women visit sacred sites and traditional homelands, hunt and gather food for their families, teach children about country and socialise.
Many of the women are older and a substantial number are widows. For most, their income generation opportunities would be greatly reduced without Tjanpi.