Location: Kampong Thkov, Siem Reap Province
Summary: Women’s handicraft centre provides livelihood opportunities for landless women.
Bun Proeuth comes to the Kampong Thov Commune Community Women’s Handicraft Centre every day to make Kramas. It took her six months to learn how to make the traditional colourful loom-spun cotton scarves, and she is now able to make up to three each day.
In 2010, at their tri-annual village development meeting, Bun Proeuth and a number of poor landless families expressed an interest in learning handicrafts to provide them with the means to earn an income. Consequently, the volunteer community facilitators submitted a proposal to Banteay Srei for financial support to build a handicraft centre, and approached their local pagoda to donate some land. The centre was built with financial support from CAFOD, and now has all the equipment and materials necessary to produce kramas, including four weaving machines and nine sewing machines thanks to financial support from Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA).
“For each krama I make I can earn 1000 riel,” Proeuth explains. “Then at the end of the year I will receive a share of the overall profits”. Proeuth and three other members will now be trained on teaching weaving skills to new members. Typically worn around the neck or head but also used as sarongs and hammocks for babies, the kramas are sold within Banteay Srei’s target villages, and so far demand is outstripping supply for these locally produced goods.
Ten women are currently using the handicraft centre, most of the women who use the centre have no agricultural land. Proeuth’s husband has tuberculosis (TB) and so the income she earns from her work at the handicraft centre supports herself, her husband and two children. Proeuth hopes that the centre may soon dig a well to give them much needed access to water so that they can use the outside space to grow vegetables. “I would like to see vegetable growing activities so that we can grow food to eat at home and to sell any surplus at the market,” Proeuth says.
In fact, the community facilitators are currently seeking support to build a well so that the centre can have access to water and provide the means to grow vegetables for the women at the centre. Banteay Srei has encouraged the community to raise this need in their village development plan and to request support from their commune council.