Located in one of the poorest rural provinces of Cambodia, the Stung Treng Women’s Development Centre (SWDC) was founded by Chantha Nguon and her husband Kim Dara Chan in 2001.
For over fifteen years, this organisation has supported some of Cambodia’s most vulnerable women with basic education and vocational training, and engaged them in skilled employment.
Their efforts to generate employment while simultaneously promoting literacy, vocational and health training for disadvantaged women has meant that many of these women have become primary bread-winners and equal decision-makers in their families.
Under Chantha’s leadership, which you can read more about here, SWDC also operates a social enterprise called Mekong Blue, which sells high-quality silk handicrafts produced and hand-woven by the women trained in SWDC’s weaving training and employment programs. Their work is transforming the local tourism context in Stung Treng and the high quality of the items produced at Mekong Blue earned them UNESCO’s award of excellence in 2004 and 2005.
Our support for the Stung Treng Women’s Development Centre, as with all our grassroots partners, is tailored to meet their needs.
We currently divide our support between the organisation’s weaving training and employment program, a new training restaurant to service the growing tourist population in Stung Treng, and technical support as requested by our partners.
Education and livelihoods training is vital to making sure that women have the skills, confidence and knowledge necessary to support themselves, their families and their communities. Weaving and sewing skills are highly transferable and employable skills across the South East Asian economy and allow women to generate an income.
Through SWDC, we support women in the local area to gain skills in weaving, sericulture, sewing, silk spinning and dyeing as well as quality control and customer service. Women in SWDC’s weaving program receive six months full time training, including a daily allowance, childcare, transportation if required, access to social development programs and health care for themselves and their family. Upon completion of their training they are offered employment in the organisation’s trading arm, Mekong Blue.
We are currently in the planning and development phase of an brand new project in Stung Treng – a training restaurant to service the rapidly growing tourist economy. This new project seeks to provide local women in Stung Treng with valuable and highly transferable skills in hospitality and tourism, as well as opportunities for employment at the restaurant. It also seeks to add value to the local economy and community and support the future financial stability of Stung Treng Women’s Development Centre, with all profits to be invested back into the training program.
If you are interested in hearing more about or investing in this exciting new project, please contact our CEO, Briony, on firstname.lastname@example.org
Promotion and advertising
Stung Treng Women’s Development Centre is located four miles outside of the main town area. Visits to the Centre from tourists are an important source of income for the organisation as visitors enjoy a delicious meal prepared on site, take a tour of the premises and can purchase a selection of Mekong Blue’s high quality silk products.
As you know, we are committed to supporting our grassroots partners in any way that they identify so when Co-Director, Chan, asked us to help him design a billboard for the town to attract tourists to the Centre we quickly got to work. Using a photograph that we had taken when we visited the Centre, we worked with Chan to develop the Khmer script and English translation, abiding by government regulations about the size and composition of billboards, and keeping it stylistically appropriate for the local context.
To the right is our finished billboard, which is now proudly displayed in the heart of the town! If you are heading to this part of Cambodia – be sure to stop and take a tour of the Centre.