Suppliers helping create a better quality of life for those in need
Creating jobs for those in need requires employment sustainability to truly improve people’s quality of life.
To help raise the marginalized up from their current situations, education is the most valuable gift that can be bestowed. Giving them training in craftsmanship techniques and tools gives them skills they can use the rest of their lives.
Visits to dedicated suppliers
Our visit to four suppliers in Cambodia earlier this month (with a Cambodia team led by Alex Boome, Program Director of Hinrich Foundation) has created a significant impression. Meeting suppliers who never complained of exhaustion and exhibited endless determination to help people struggling with misfortune through training and job creation was truly inspiring.
All the suppliers we met have a concerted mission to create and promote sustainable livelihood for marginalized groups in Cambodia. They continue to contribute toward alleviating people’s poverty through job creation, similar to the mission of the Hinrich Foundation – promoting sustainable global trade.
“We assure our suppliers that the Foundation’s focus on our mission of job creation remains steadfast,” said Alex Boome, program director of Hinrich Foundation. “We are certain that we now have the right team in place to offer continued long-term support.”
A non-profit business, Khmer Silk Processing Association-then Phaly Craft, has a unique mission to preserve traditional high-value silk which has always helped provide jobs.
They focus especially on aiding single mothers, the disable and other similar communities to help them earn living and support their families. Phaly Craft not only focuses on adults, but also runs an orphanage center where it helps children learn life skills and knowledge to give them a brighter future.
Recycled plastic bags are hanging at the entrance of Khmer Life to attract buyers.
“Actually it is not profitable, but we still help; it touches my heart when I have taken over the business from my mother,” said Nuon So Thero, Executive Director of Phaly Craft.
“We do hope that through this social initiative project we expand our market sources which eventually lead to increase our profit and help us to employ more people. And we still continue doing this in the name and dedication of my mother who tirelessly want to see the brighter future for children of Cambodia lifting from poverty via capacity building,” said Thero.
The successful owner of Khmer Life, Cheak Kearun, has years of experiences in producing all kinds of handicrafts of materials including recycled bags and various accessories. He said his vision is focused on helping the poor.
He helps create jobs for the needy and trains them to become skillful artisans. Most of them are disable, single mothers, poor students and home-based workers who come from the poor communities.
In 2009, Kearun started working with Khmer Life after obtaining an MBA in Business Management. The Malaysian woman who founded the shop in 2004 later passed on ownership to him.
“Annual sales are a bit better,” said Kearun. “Most of the products are exported to Australia, Singapore, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy and Malaysia, with our main customers contributing to big chunks to our percentage of annual income.”
Nhok Nimul, a manager with decade of work experience at Rajana Association has also shared that her team is in need of workers laboring at the workshop as sale have been moderately better than in the past.
However, she noted that the high percentage of sales come from local sales and that she hoped to expand sales abroad when registering for the Global Source in Private Sourcing Catalogue.
“New and old customers always need new products and new designs,” she said. “Every season of the year, jewelry items and Christmas ornaments are sold off with flying colors.”
Another non-government organization established in 2001, Mekong Quilts, specializes in manufacturing fashion accessories and home decor also but also plays a good part in society.
They think that fair wags as well as safe and comfortable working environments bring them high quality products. They employ the helping hands of women hoping to earn more income so their children remain in school.
Thann Chany, a Manager at Mekong Quilts in Cambodia, says sales are not stable and mostly seasonal. Currently, they have many in-stock products that need to be sold or require promotion. More production will help them create more jobs. While sales are not consistent, they don’t lay off workers because they know the hardship those mothers will face if they are let go.
About the Author – Sophal Bun