We stan Cambodia Knits.
Living in Cambodia for five years, our CEO, Sally Hetherington OAM, developed a great working relationship with Founder, Monika Nowaczyk, who founded the social enterprise with the goal of producing beautiful, high quality and unique hand knit products while providing fair and flexible employment opportunities. This relationship continued when Sally moved back to Australia, having successfully made herself redundant from her role at Human and Hope Association Cambodia, leaving the organisation to be entirely run by Cambodian staff.
Sally and Monika bonded over their shared values of local empowerment and the belief that employment is an empowering way out of poverty for marginalized communities, especially when that employment is fairly paid and works within the constraints communities face. These values are embedded in both Cambodia Knits, our program partner Human and Hope Association Cambodia and Human and Hope Australia, which is why we are thrilled that despite the COVID-19 crisis that has impacted greatly on their sales, Cambodia Knits continues to support marginalized communities.
Listen to Monika and Sally talk about the importance of employment opportunities.
In late May, the team at Cambodia Knits began creating crochet videos in Khmer (the official language of Cambodia), as other crochet videos available rely on technical English terms. These videos aimed to test if it is possible to train people on basic crochet skills, specifically those needed to make the popular Cambodia Knits stacking cups set. Adapting to COVID-19, the team wanted to see if they could continue to expand, train more people and provide employment in a socially distant way. These videos also aimed to capture the techniques used for the current producers at Cambodia Knits so they had the resources post-training to check on what they may have forgotten.
Monika then reached out to Human and Hope Association Cambodia to see whether their community members would be interested in learning how to crochet! Vocational Training Manager, Savdy Doeung, contacted current students and graduates from their sewing program, with four graduates, nine current students and a sewing teacher eager to learn to expand their skills and learn how to crochet.
“Cambodia Knits generously donated 20 crochet hooks and 20 balls of yarn so the women can learn how to crochet through the video. They really like the idea of this skill, and some have the plan to make the products to sell, like hats and clothes after they learn basic crochet. They have bigger confidence because of studying in the sewing program, and we are happy that Cambodia Knits produce this video and provide the resources to help them to try a new skill. They like to keep learning,” said Savdy.
We are looking forward to seeing the crochet skills of Human and Hope Association Cambodia’s students develop and applaud Cambodia Knits for this wonderful initiative! Be sure to share their YouTube channel with your Khmer speaking friends so more people can share in the magic that is crochet!
You can browse the Cambodia Knits range here (we love their Sleepy Snoogus toys) or support their producers on Patreon here. Our upcoming online auction in October will also you a chance to bid on some gorgeous crochet Christmas decorations made by the Cambodia Knits producers!