Saturday, March 26, 2011

Support Rural Women and Girls in Cambodia Through Your Embracelets © Purchase

A few weeks ago, Pauline Johns, Director Om Chamnap and I, plus our special guests Robin and Claire from Australia, made a special trip to the Takeo village of Trapeang Thum in Takeo district and were amazed by the creativity of our group of 10 women and one boy enrolled in the ‘Embracelets’ © Program there.
Yes! – We have one 16 year-old male student, Pros, in the program. He comes from a particularly impoverished family in a nearby village and makes income for his family by hunting frogs (for food) at night. A couple of months ago he had been hired to clean our yard. He and his younger brother would work away at cleaning up the property while we were running the initial week-long Embracelets © program.
Pros would pick up the off-cast pieces of string off the ground and started weaving bracelets. Much to our surprise, he had the ability to weave beautiful, intricate bracelets! Where he ever learned this, I don’t know – but it wasn’t long before we made him a ‘teacher’ and he was showing the women how to weave his designs.

That started the creativity ball rolling and soon all the women were creating their own unique designs in every color combination imaginable. Some of the string bracelet designs incorporate leather -  some with colorful beads. Rings, keychains, pens, schoolbag ornaments – you name it – they invented a way to weave it!

Everyone who arrived at the program two weeks ago had a small bag of creations to give us. All string, materials and tools were supplied for them through the program. As they each turned in their bag of creations, they were given $5.00 for their efforts. That’s a total of $10 that each woman received – a generous stipend when you consider that the average daily salary for working 12 hours in a sweltering rice field is $1.00.

But that is just the beginning of the benefits that this ‘Embracelets’ © program will realize for these women and other rural women and girls like them.

These creative designs will now be sold in Canada and Australia and all the money from sales will go back into the program to fund the educational needs of these 10 women and one boy. Funds will also go towards enrolling other women into the program in Takeo and Battambang provinces. In Koas Krala district in Battambang province, special consideration will be given to enroll landmine-affected female family members into the program.

From sales in Canada and Australia, these first 11 participants will be supplied with school uniforms and supplies and perhaps even bicycles for the children of the mothers enrolled in the program. Students in the program will also receive the same.

Embracelets’© is a program of Banyan Learning Tree – a registered organization in Cambodia: . In Canada, 'Embracelets for Books'©  a copyrighted and registered program of A Mine Free World Foundation

In Ontario, Embracelets© will be available for purchase at all Rotary Wheels for Learning presentations:

In Australia, contact Pauline Johns to purchase or help sell some Embracelets©:

You can help support this program through your purchase of an item or perhaps even take a few Embracelets© products to sell to your family, friends and co-workers. They make a wonderful gift. Each item is packaged in a bag with a colorful insert describing the program. Many thanks to Dan Blix for the creation of these colorful inserts: Dan's Advertising Design:

For more information, please contact Lisa McCoy at: or 705-687-8538.

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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.