Recently my husband and I became aware of the child trafficking situation in Cambodia. We were really struck by the fact that girls as young as 5 or 6 were being sold into brothels by their families on a regular basis (yup .... let that sink in for just a minute. Do you have a younger sister? A daughter? A niece?) The photos and personal stories I’ve seen have been disturbing on a level I’ve never experienced before.
I found an organization in Phnom Penh who work to get girls and young women out of the sex trade and into other jobs, as without an income they are unable to leave their current situation. I approached the founder of the group with the idea of opening a sewing center where the girls could use local silks (which are amazing and in abundance) and make wedding related items like ring pillows and sashes for dresses. She loved the idea, and together we created a vocation training facility where the girls can come during the day and earn a salary. They then have the option of staying next door in housing that the group now has, or going back to the brothel. Over time, most end up leaving the sex trade all together and begin reintegrating into society. A great day there is when you see one of the girls smile for the first time. It’s a difficult, but very moving process.
Last month we visited Cambodia and were able to see the sewing center all set up, and meet all of the girls. The first silk goods were made, and we were thrilled with them! We are now back home and have just updated our website with the items we were able to stuff into our suitcases. 100% of the profits on these items will go directly back to the women making them. Buying a pillow literally writes a pay check. The more we can get the word out, the more we can do for these people.
After Christmas we'll be receiving our first shipment from Phnom Penh. We'll be adding a few more silk flowers, as well as more options for dress sashes. We have plans to add handbags, shawls and silk envelopes for invites! Any ideas you want to share are more than welcome.
Through this blog we'll continue to update people on the project, and hopefully share a lot of stories and photos. Of course we'll also feature other wedding related topics, but seeing as this is a new beginning I think this is a great place to start.
Thanks for stopping by!
"Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person." - Mother Teresa