Lao Weaving Artisans - Micro Credit Project

by Social and Economic Developers Association (SEDA)
with a SEDA weaving participant
with a SEDA weaving participant

Jacqueline Lee is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners’ projects throughout Southeast Asia. Her “Postcard” from the visit in Lao:

On April 26, I met with SouLy from SEDA in Vientiane, Lao to visit one of the schools that received funding for renovation and to visit participants of the Weaving Artisans - Micro Credit Project. Everyone in the village knew SouLy and greeted her upon arrival. She had been working with this specific community for some time.

SEDA was working with a specific village where the women are wives of handicapped military veterans - therefore usually the main income generator of the household. 

We visited 3 women who benefited and were part of this project. All three were highly grateful and dependent on the support of SouLy and SEDA for marketing and selling their work. Tuh, the 1st woman to do participate in this textile project in this village shared some of her beautiful work. She shared about her current situation while we all sat on her front porch next to her large weaving machine. Tuh was an orphan who went to work at the handicapped veterans camp where she met her first husband. Now Tuh was a widow - twice she was married and both times they passed away leaving her alone to support herself and her children. I asked her what she was able to do with the money earned - and she said finally buy a computer for her kids.  She had been a weaver before, which is a tradition passed down, but now with the market testing of quality, color etc. SEDA helped bring her products to the market. 

After, we met with another woman who was part of this project. We sat with her and her husband while she weaved. Her husband had lost both of his arms - but one wouldn't notice from the great big smile he had when he greeted SouLy and myself upon arrival and sat laughing and talking with us. Both husband and wife were warm and welcoming eager to speak with me despite the language barrier. 

I would like to thank SEDA and SouLy for her support and hospitality in accompanying me to visit this project and experience how GlobalGiving funds were used.

visiting the first SEDA weaving participant
visiting the first SEDA weaving participant
a weaving artisan with her husband
a weaving artisan with her husband


SEDA's women weaving members has been produces over 30 different type of patents and colors.  Currently, we are in processing with Lao government to request this sample to be sent out for promotion in Europe and USA.  200 meters of samples will be shipped by air cargo.  We are hoping that more order will comes through soon. We are hoping these samples will help generate income for women and recycle microfinancing within their own community so, we would not request for any further assistance.  In this way, SEDA's women member can become sustainable within their program as well as their community. 

SEDA has trained women members to work together in a friendly environment, to help each other within their own community and to become sustainable not just for themselves, but for next generations.  SEDA has accepted the members’ children to join the youth program which receives training in the head quarter offices; so, they can give back to their own community and many other communities too. 
How can this women’s group continue to grow and support the community?   We will need your support and more donations to help SEDA continue to offer support to new members during these holidays and year 2011.  

We are still shorts of funds for administration, loans to women, testing the quality of products that can market demands, etc..  These women have created new designs based on their own ideas.   Women who participated in this program participated in a workshop, exchanged knowledge, shared ideas and lessons and learned from their own experience through microfinancing.  These women have seen great results and have  requested that SEDA continue to raise awareness and funds that are needed to supports 20 other women who are new to the group and need help to achieves similar goals. 

Example:  Currently women who have been tested for pilot project.  This is their result, as one women reply back to SEDA.  Ms Thong said, “If we continue working together as similar program as what we done today, I believes we will continue have more women who will join SEDA as members as well as microfinance program is growing to outreach all of our women in our community.  The program does help my family as I get enough money to help buy food for my family, school supplies for my children.  I also want to help be a role model for my community and hope that everyone can adopt me as a good example.  Last, I want to thank you to SEDA and many donors who support us and hope that they can continue to supports program to outreach to help other women too.” 

Today, SEDA has more than 20 new members joining the women’s program, but SEDA is still short of funds to cover for new members.  SEDA is urge all donors, supporters and fans if you can contribute in dollar to help the program continue for next year in 2011.   Many thanks for your generosity and kindness during these holidays.

For more photos of textile visit on facebook or website links: 

10th of September took place a workshop in Ban Hay Village, 790 camp, where 23 participants formed their community policy and steering committee. Women are divided to 4 groups, each has a leader, an assistant and a secretary. Each group will manage the micro credit and assure the quality of products. Steering committee will do the overall coordination.

This workshop was a big step towards independent women cooperative. Women had to realize that it’s their responsibility to organize their work together to produce high quality fabrics. Participants had many questions, like when they can sell their products. Souly QuachAngkham, SEDA’s Director replied: “When you have stable cooperative members and you are ready to deliver high quality products and to respond to large orders, then I would say that the marketing won't be the problem”.

It was a big day for women, their motivation and self-confidence raised and they are optimistic about the future. Common cooking and festive lunch helped to build the strong team.

Women were very inspired to design their own logo. Their sketch of logo will be finalized and selected by the end of this year.

SEDA will continue with trainings about technical and business skills, quality control and marketing. For sustainability SEDA is training young trainers and leaders in youth training program, who will implement these trainings with supervision of Souly QuachAngkham.

Women need help with micro credit more than ever, please help to continue the project.


The female weavers participating in our micro-credit pilot project recently dropped off their latest batch of handmade fabrics The project is now morphing into a long-term one, with the participants currently developing small groups and group policies. After the success of the pilot project in Ban Hay Village, Vientiane province, 20 more women will join the weavers group. In September they will form their own policy and steering committees. SEDA will provide training of technical skills, management, marketing and accounting skills. The aim is to develop sustainable community of weavers and to train them to function independently. SEDA will be consultant and assist in micro credit and marketing. It will also apply for additional funding for investments in production and marketing. Continually SEDA facilitates involvement of new members and creation of new weaving communities. Please help us to continue this important project:

Despite being long forgotten to many in the West, the Lao victims of the Indochina War still struggle with their daily lives. Often with debilitating injuries and unable to work, veterans and their families survive mostly off of a government pension and whatever the women can bring home.

Women in Laos suffer more inequality than women in most other countries, but this doesn’t stop those with talent and drive to break through the gender barriers. The women of the 790 Disabled Veterans Village are doing just that, and SEDA is by their side in their battle against economic and gender inequality. SEDA is continuing with its support for the weaver women through a microfinance project to inject capital and training into their community. The unique weaving of Laos is revered internationally, but often village-bound weavers lack the marketing skills to access markets beyond their local trading centres.

SEDA empowers the weavers with small capital loans to invest in their village industry, while also giving them valuable access to international markets for their products. The project is showing increased success, and February 12 saw the visit of Denis Nkala, chief of the South-South Unit (Asia and Pacific) of the UNDP Regional Centre in Bangkok. Denis was given a tour of the village to see firsthand the spinning and dying techniques of these resourceful villagers. Using 100% organic methods, the cloths go through a cycle from dying and warping, to threading, to weaving—all by hand on traditional looms.

“Community-level projects worldwide are all finding their own ways to address sustainability, and we have seen one such story today,” said Denis.

Denis was joined on his visit by SEDA’s Lao and international volunteers, alongside founder Souly QuachAngkham. Once the display was over, the whole party was treated to a village feast of Lao sticky rice and fish, and none were left unsatisfied.

“We are so glad of SEDA’s support, and we hope UNDP’s presence can lead to further success in the future,” the head of the weavers’ cooperative, Vilay Thong, said.

The women and SEDA were keen to stress that this was not a celebratory visit. With the recent expansion of the cooperative group by 25 members, there was still work to be done, but the mood was nonetheless upbeat and optimistic about the future.

In many ways, it is up to the women now to continue with these early successes, but the support of SEDA and partners, along with the UNDP will surely give them the best possible shot at building a sustainable model of community-level income generation for their daughters and granddaughters.


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Organization Information

Social and Economic Developers Association (SEDA)

Location: Vientiane - Afghanistan
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Souly QuachAngkham
Vientiane, Lao Lao People's Democratic Republic

Funded Project!

Thanks to 22 donors like you, a total of $2,265 was raised for this project on GlobalGiving. Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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