Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sophie in Cambodia, 7/28/2009 - Day 5

This morning I met with someone from the Cambodia Craft Cooperation which was started by a German organization. They work with artists from many different villages. I learned quite a bit about the silk weaving process. I also learned that the silk yarn, the raw material, is imported mainly from China. Getting raw materials is difficult in Cambodia.

After the meeting, I went to 278 Street, the area around Wat Lanka. Many NGOs have their offices there. Apparently, there are about 5,000s NGOs in Phnom Penn alone. Phnom Penn is not as underdeveloped as I thought. I have visited other capital cities that are far worse than Phnom Penn. It is a city of late-model Lexus’s contrasted with the poor. I have never seen so many Lexus in my life. And they have huge logos painted on the side of the body. I heard about the corruption and it is definitely hard to swallow when you think that the money that went into buying these expensive cars should have gone to people.

I discovered a store called Swanti on Street 57. They use recycled plastic bags and fish nets to make bags and other soft accessories. It is not an NGO. The merchandise is very modern looking. I am wondering if there is something we can do there.

In the afternoon, I met with representitives from AFESIP, and also from the Somaly Mam Foundation. AFESIP and the Somaly Mam Foundation are creating micro finance programs for the women from their shelters. AFESIP is doing research on how effective the micro finance has been and the best way to set up the program. It is still in the research phase. However, both of the people I met with liked what Nomi Network is trying to do. They agree that it would benefit me to meet with the product manager of AFESIP Fair Fashion and to learn about the existing training and weaving programs in the shelters. Praise God!

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