leather goods
Ma ka hana ka ‘ike
In working one learns
‘Ōlelo No‘eau - 2088

When we funded a study to develop a program aimed at making an impact on the at-risk Native Hawaiian youth we had only two requirements; first, the target group should be taught Native Hawaiian values and skills; second, they will be exposed to the disciplines of economic development. Our goal was to create a program designed to empower the youth who are most vunerable in our community. We hoped to instill pride through a deeper understanding and appreciation for their cultural heritage and prepare them for the world around them through exposure to business practices. With these goals in mind PIDF developed an after school mentoring program similar to the Big Brothers program, with mature, culturally sensitive, Native Hawaiian males paired with identified Native Hawaiian boys and girls who live in fatherless households. This project was conducted at Laupāhoehoe on the Island of Hawai‘i with great results. During the project, youths were taught how to make a traditional Native Hawaiian paniolo saddle and other leather goods to develop business plans for marketing and selling the products they created. Also, some of the students learned how to propagate endemic plants native to Hawai‘i and develop business plans for the marketing of those products in a growing industry where the public has demonstrated its interest in acquiring these native plants.