About Team Cambodia
Meet Team Cambodia, two teams of combined 75 artisans working in the rural villages outside of Phnom Penh and Baray District. Team Cambodia is an inclusive cooperative with a special focus on women and people with physical disabilities, particularly polio. These artisan partners produce modern textile goods using local materials and traditional weaving techniques. The goods produced by these artisans are infused with the personality of the artisans and the mission of the cooperative: to improve the quality of life for women and girls throughout the region.
This group works to empower women and people with disabilities through handicraft training and employment. To create job opportunities for village women, Team Cambodia conducts sewing, embroidery and weaving trainings in villages throughout the country. They also provide specialized trainings and invests in handicapable workshop tools, making sure they're able to provide jobs for people with physical disabilities.
These artisan workshops are unlike any we've ever seen: each artisan was working according to their strengths and ability levels, so women unable to use their legs would be sewing by hand, cutting fabric, or doing quality control checks, whereas artisans with ability to walk would deliver materials from one station to the next, and could use the pedals of the sewing machine. Every day, the artisans gather to the picnic tables outside and share a meal together, which is cooked for them in-house by foods straight from their own garden. There is a real sense of community in this workshop-- everyone has an important role to play for the group to be successful!
The materials used by Team Cambodia are all sustainably sourced: they're either handwoven organic cotton or silk, or they're upcycled fabrics: the artisans purchase the "waste" fabrics of traditional garment factories, preventing it from going to a landfill. The artisans grow the cotton right outside their workshop, weave it into fabric on the bottom floor, and sew it into a bag on the top floor. Talk about a one-stop shop!
How We Support Team Cambodia
We support Team Cambodia by helping them employ more women, earn higher wages and reach new customers.
- We commit to long term, reliable trade agreements that allow cooperatives to hire more women and make proactive business decisions. Team Cambodia can count on us to place continuous orders at consistent prices, and that trust results in more jobs and more job security for women.
- There is no national minimum wage in Cambodia, and unskilled workers in the textile market typically received the lowest wages in society. For comparison, the specific minimum wage in the unskilled garment and shoe industry is 4,000 Cambodian Riel per day, equivalent to $1.10 USD per day. Fair Anita artisans in Cambodia are paid over 5x this amount. They also receive health insurance, educational scholarships, and handicap accessible housing.
Product Spotlight: Jungle Vines XL Tote
The Jungle Vines XL Tote is handmade by women artisans in rural Cambodia. Made of handwoven organic cotton fabric, eco-friendly dyes and modern screen printing techniques, this bag is designed to be durable and beautiful so you can wander the globe worry-free. We made the geometric design, and then it's sent to Cambodia to make into a screen, burned on silk. That pattern is then printed onto yards and yards of fabric before it's sewn into this sturdy bag. The tote has a small pocket inside, perfect for your keys or phone. It's a little larger than an average tote, so it's great to throw everything in and go! Perfect for the farmers market or bringing your laptop + sweater to work.
"Because of fair trade work, we're able to raise our children differently. We can provide our children with education: they finish university. We have a better standard of living than before. Prior to this fair trade job, our small children didn't have shoes to wear, but now the children go to school and have clothes to wear. We have our own forms of transportation: we own motorbikes. Some of us save and invest in buying animals, like chickens or cows. This is a good investment for us."