Thursday, December 23, 2010

Embracelet Program for Rural Women in Takeo Province, Cambodia

Two weeks ago, A Mine Free World Board members Pauline Johns and I spent an enjoyable week teaching 11 women in Trapeang Thum, Takeo province how to weave 'Embracelets'.

The course was a resounding success as by the end of the week the women were teaching us the innovative new designs and patterns that they invented!

The project, conducted under our new Cambodian registered organization 'Banyan Learning Tree' taught these women a new skill and provided them with some income.

Last year, over $200 was raised by Embracelet sales in Canada. This money was brought back to Cambodia to buy supplies and provide capital for 11 women to carry on the program.

The women came to our village house in Takeo every morning for one week. At the end of the week, the women were each paid $5 for the items they made during the week. They were also given a small bag of supplies, string, beads, scissors and leather, so they could continue making the woven items in their spare time at home.

In February, Pauline and I will go back to the village and gather up the items the women made, at which time they will be paid another $5.00. This may not sound like a lot of money, but at village level, where a rice farmer makes $1.00/day working in the hot sun from 5am to dark, this bracelet income is added income which goes a long way for a village family.

The program is a lot of fun, and also builds the women's self esteem through the sense of pride they feel with the beautiful items they create. It's a wonderful outlet for their creativity and a chance to learn a little English from us.

I return to Canada in April with a suitcase full of these lovely items which will be sold at presentations and by mail order in Canada.

The money raised will go towards educational supplies for the young women in the program. For the older women, educational supplies,school uniforms, school fees - perhaps even bicycles - will be provided for their children.

You'll be amazed by the beautiful items shown on this blog, and I'll be happy to provide any groups in Muskoka a presentation on this program and bring along the items that the village women here in Cambodia have made.

Thanks to Muskokans, Dan Blix, Bill and Dora Rathbun and Jay and Linda Harrison for all the woonderful support of this program.

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About Me

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Lisa McCoy is a Rotarian from Gravenhurst, Ontario. She worked 23 years in the Public Library field. After having extensively traveled around the world, she decided to give worth and meaning to her travels by volunteering her efforts in aid of those less fortunate than herself; particularly the children and landmine survivors of Cambodia and the refugees of Burma. Lisa participated in disaster relief efforts in the aftermaths of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, Cyclone Nargis on the Thai-Burma border and Typhoon Ketsana in Cambodia. She is the executive director of the Canadian non-profit organization ‘A Mine Free World Foundation’. In 2009, she spent 6 months in Cambodia where she attended the grand opening of The ‘Muskoka School’; a 6-room rural school funded by the citizens and Rotary Clubs of Muskoka. She is the Field Coordinator for Rotary Wheels for Learning - an international program of the Rotary Club of Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada, District 7010. In the past 2 years, close to 2,000 bicycles have been distributed to needy students in Cambodia.