Future Knitters

I wanted to post this since our visit to the community last week, but didn’t have a chance until now. On Friday Davy and I visited Toul Sambo again to have a short meeting with community members to tell them about Cambodia Knits training, working for CK, training dates and so on. When we arrived, Hope, a health organization (I have tried to look it up, but there are at least a dozen orgs with HOPE somewhere in their names) was there giving basic check-ups, distributing ARVs and holding a short meeting to pass on some health messages. We introduced CK to everyone there. Some had met us the week before, but most people had been away for Pchum Ben so it was there first time to hear about the training and the possibility of working for us. I showed some of the completed monsters and they were very well received (lots of smiles from the kids). Everyone was very eager to give knitting a try, to see if they could learn how to make the funny creatures. Surprisingly enough, there are several men who want to try as well! I had presumed that only women would be interested, as knitting is generally considered in the feminine domain (not saying I agree, but really, that is the generalization) perhaps even more so in Cambodia. I had always imagined that the project would be about helping women in these communities, but if men want to join, I can’t and won’t have any objections. One of the men used to work as a motodup (motorbike taxi driver for those not savvy...

The monsters are here!!!

Not much to say except: YAY! We finally got it all together. Here’s just a few but there will be many more in the days to come!! Again, these wonderful monsters are patterns from the brilliant Rebecca Danger. You can find them here if you want to make your own. Or just go and look at her other wonderful...

Small update on post below

I just got a wonderful email with Davy explaining her handicraft business in more detail. I hadn’t realized that she started the business on her own with only 50 USD in 2001 making greeting cards by herself to sell to a few market stalls and built it up over the years into a business that employs over 140 women from the poorest communities. She’s diversified into paper flowers and other handicrafts, all of which she taught herself to make! She is truly an amazing woman and I’m very fortunate to have her to learn...

Davy's Flowers

So I wrote that I would post about Davy’s project and show some photos so here goes: So Davy works for the Phnom Penh City Hall on their urban poverty alleviation project. It had been supported by UN-Habitat, but once funding ended, she lost all her staff. Now it’s just her, with no budget and lots of pressure. She has had her own handicrafts business for some time and involves some of the communities she knows about in PP. She trains women in making flowers out of corn husks, bamboo leaves and other natural materials which are usually found as garbage around markets. I haven’t worked out the process, but they dry, cut and paint them. The result: 100% recycled, natural, handmade flowers (not sure what the dye is or how eco-friendly it is, but will find out). Even the leaves are somehow dried and preserved. She buys all the finished flowers from the women, paying a very fair wage, brings them to her shop and her staff there arrange them for sale. For PP residents, the shop is on Street 106, the double road that runs from the train station to the river, on the north side, close to the river. She also has a stall at the night market which is close to her shop (Fri-Sun nights, 6pm-10pm). Davy is quite well established and organized, although she is looking to expand her market base. She wants to get in contact with 10 000 villages and if I have time, I’d like to try to help her reach the Internet market. Although we both will have to work...

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