Dear past supporters and those who are interested in helping to improve the lives of Cambodian artisans from disadvantaged backgrounds. The Artisans Association of Cambodia (AAC) was formed by the World Rehabilitation Fund (WRF) as part of an initiative supported by the United Nations nearly 20 years ago. It has since operated as a Cambodian organization with Cambodian leadership and a Cambodian Board of Directors. AAC supports the strengthening of organizations engaged in providing vocational opportunities for Cambodian artisans from disadvantaged backgrounds. Support to those organizations from AAC includes assistance through training and other technical assistance in a wide variety of areas including design, production, retail strategies, marketing, accounting etc.
Members also are trained to adhere to international standards regarding fair trade and protection of the environment.
From an original four member groups, AAC has grown to more than 50 members with more organizations on a waiting list pending membership application review. Members collectively have generated some $3million in sales per year of products. This has allowed artisans and support personnel to realize sufficient funds to significantly improve their lives and the lives of their children. Over 2/3 of artisans supported by the project and a majority of directors of AAC organizations are women.
Most AAC member groups are social enterprises that are involved not only in vocational activities, but also provide services to help persons and their families including persons with disabilities, single pasrent families, those who survived human trafficking etc.
In recent months, AAC members have participated in several trade fairs including two international fairs-Brunei (participation arrannged by the Cambodian Ministry of Culture), Bangkok and the Ton Le Fair in Cambodia.
Two new groups have applied for AAC membership- Hope and Grace Sewing ofr Battambang and Cambodian Knits of Siem Reap. AAC has been able to identify additional potential buyers in France and the UK.
A Japanese trade fair sponsor named three AAC member groups- Lotus Silk, Khmer Creations and Women for Women as recipients of their Best Design Awards.
Further support for AAC will allow more growth of these organizations and strengthen the viability of craft creation as a means for providing economic success especially for those from disadvantaged backgrounds and especially for Cambodian women.