Mekong Blue projects
Traditional weaving and sewing training
Break the cycle of poverty through vocational training in skills that increase employment opportunities and income generation.
Encourage professional competence, ethical practice and quality results through on going training and support activities.
Weaving & Sewing Training
After the women's successful completion of the literacy and health education program they are able to move onto vocational training that demonstrates and teaches all aspects of silk weaving, from preparation to final product presentation. After completion most of the women are filtered into employment at SWDC at our Mekong Blue production center. This type of vocational training has a very positive impact on the women's future as textile weaving is currently a highly transferable and employable skill in the South East Asian region.
The weaving training runs for 6 months fulltime, the sewing training runs for 1 year part time. All of the training is provided free of charge and they receive a modest monthly allowance ($25 per month) to take care of their daily needs. Some women are offered a bicycle to make access to the classes easier.
The women who complete the training are then evaluated and offered to apply for positions at SWDC production center in the skill they show most confidence in. On-the-job training is ongoing and new skills are developed over time.
- Learning to understand silk - through washing and handling unprocessed silk, separating and spinning silk into thread.
- Preparing silk - dying, setting dyes, drying silk, a few women with math skill are chosen to specialize in dying and color mixing and more advanced dying techniques (e.g. Ikat).
- Setting up the loom - preparing the warp, folding warp onto beam, preparing and threading the reed, preparing the heddle.
- Silk weaving - preparing the weft, using the shuttle, weaving different silk thicknesses, weaving modern and traditional patterns, including Khmer Ikat and patterns.
- Sewing - measuring, developing and making patterns, cutting silk, sewing, tailoring and finishing.
- Quality Control - preparing product for sale: washing, ironing, labeling and packaging.
Continuation and support for training is crucial to developing the women's skills and keeping mekong blue competitive in the silk market. The outcome of this program provides over 80% of the women who complete the vocational training with employment in their learnt vocational skill. This employment improves income generation and livelihoods. The Mekong Blue product provides the women with physical evidence of their hard work and skill.