Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, July 2011
Mekong Blue was accepted to participate in the 2011 Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, July 2011, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Nearly 400 applications were received from artists all over the world for the 100+ artist booths available at the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market.
It was the first time a Cambodian organization has attended the event, and Mekong Blue is the first weaving organization to have been accepted!
The Cambodian silk industry currently uses 70-80 metric tons of raw silk per year. Of this, less than 2% (1-2 tons) is produced in Cambodia. Development of sericulture in Cambodia has real potential as an employment generation and poverty reduction strategy. SWDC hopes to build a single integrated silk refinery where the mulberry tree orchards, worm nurseries, and silk refinery are all located together at one large farm. The project would provide the raw silk used at the weaving center, and, of course, would serve as a further means of practicing of the SWDC principles of training and employing those with the greatest need.
By the end of 2011, SWDC intends to carry out a feasibility study to examine the viability of setting up a large sericulture project in Stung Treng.
Community Children's Home
SWDC is heading in a slightly new direction with the addition of its latest social program: children's home for vulnerable children age 4-16 years old.
The Community Center will offer education, health and a caring home environment to vulnerable children in the Stung Treng province. By offering high quality care in a nurturing environment, local children that would almost certainly miss out on even the most basic education, health and vocational prospects will receive the best available opportunities to lay a sound foundation for later life. As empowered adults they can in turn contribute to the development of the province.
With the assistance of Care and Relief for the Young (CRY, UK), SWDC intends to begin construction for the home in December of 2011.
SWDC welcomed two American volunteers, Emily Mosites and Nupur Sashti, to Stung Treng for one month this summer. Additionally, three UNV online marketing volunteers and one UNV online web volunteer are currently assisting the center with business needs.
In September, another UNV volunteer, Barbara Rossi, will spend three weeks at SWDC in Stung Treng to provide marketing assistance.
Our new Dye Center
Through the support of Covent Garden Foundation, a new dye center was built in 2007. This building provides an office, storage room of silk and dye materials as well as wokring areas for dyeing, finishing ang Ikat design. Electricity in this building is generated from solar panels.
In partnership with KIDS Canada, SWDC built a Community School in the same village where it operates. With two teachers, the school recently opened in May 2008 to serve the children of Sre Po Village. SWDC was also involved in building a well for water source of the village.
Phnom Penh Showroom
With funding from Lonely Planet Foundation, mekong blue opened a showroom in Phnom Penh in November 2007. The occassion was marked with a mini-fashion show showcasing the products and Cambodian culture. Starting with 2009, the showroom is beeing funded by the Allen Foundation.
Nutrition Program and Vegetable Garden
In July 2008, the Nutrition Program for our center was launched. Funded by Allen Foundation and Covent Garden Foundation, workers are given free nutritious lunch everyday. The following month, a workshop on vegetable gardening was conducted by an agricultural expert from the ministry through the funding of VSO. This was attended by SWDC workers, their relatives and residents of nearby villages. Since September 2008, workers had been benefitting from our garden produce.