MEKONG QUILTS, THE SOCIAL ENTERPRISE WITH A DOUBLE IMPACT
Mekong Quilts offers a rewarding job, which also generates additional resources for the community. See how Mekong Quilts, established with local partners, works. However Mekong Quilts suffers from a significant change in the market: there are fewer Western tourists, but more Chinese or Koreans who have little interest in handicrafts. Sales of large quilts are less, however sales of smaller (and cheaper) products have soared 300%.
TESTIMONY OF MRS BÉ
Ms Be and her household hardly survived with as little as € 13 per person per month … Be thought, with a broken heart, of removing the children from school. Fortunately she was able to join one of the quilters groups, and her income increased. She now earns almost € 100 / month, this doubled the family budget! In addition she learned new and difficult skills. In her group the women share their experiences and give sometimes good advice. Mekong Plus also provides training from time to time on health issues, or about how to make a good vegetable garden, how to raise chicken without many of them dying during the rains as is often the case.
Our social enterprise, Mekong Quilts values creating objects from materials available locally in the same villages: water hyacinths, bamboo, paper mache, fabric etc. More than 200 women have a very rewarding and remunerative employment, independent of seasons and weather, and of market prices. They do not move to the city or industrial zones, they stay with the children and earn additional income. Hundreds of families are thus moving out of extreme poverty.
In Romdoul (Cambodia), for 80% of households, at least one adult leaves for several months each year: they seek work in Phnom Penh or other distant provinces.
The women are paid on a piece rate basis and work when they are free; sometimes they earn more than the workers in the factories. In the Cambodian villages the conditions are harder -there is no electricity and at 5 am there is enough light, they must stop working and thus earn less.