Last week Center for Girls partnered with the Starfish Foundation in Chiang Rai to provide vocational skills training to group a women we reached through our Women for Change pilot project. Women for Change aims to empower women to work towards eradicating gender-based violence in Chiang Khong. Surveys identified financial abuse as the most common form of control exercised over women. Together with twenty women from the pilot project, it was decided to hold a two-day training on how to make Lahu bags using their traditional techniques from their own community.
On Day 1 the women learned from our expert Kroo Pron how to stitch the design for the bag. It was a long day spent sewing different colored fabrics together, but it was worth it to see the beautiful designs each woman had made.
On Day 2 everyone finished up their main pieces and began the process of making their designs into bags. We were fortunate enough to have four sewing machines from the Child Rights Protection Center (bought with money raised from their successful fundraiser) and the women took full advantage of this. Though this project was small, it was a huge success and it will equip these women with an additional source of income.
Each women was given enough materials to make two more bags and Center for Girls will have a follow up visit in March to see their progress. The women will be able to sell their creations in their communities and eventually, as they build their confidence and skills, they will broaden their customer base using the Starfish Foundation and Center for Girls’ connections. Our goal to give them the tools they need to create an online shop. This source of income will help them to support children, be more financially independent, and have more bargaining power within their families.