Our shops are celebrating the relationship between Trade Aid and the Cambodian Handicraft Association (CHA). Visit your local Trade Aid shop from 4th to 25th to learn about our CHA products and the artisans who make them. Watch videos from CHA and learn about how you can make a difference in the lives of these talented artisans simply by purchasing a product.
To get involved and to celebrate CHA with us find your local Trade Aid shop here.
Story telling is such an important part of what we do here at Trade Aid. Please take a moment to learn more about the stories of CHA, Tola, Sopheap and Maly.
As a result of Cambodia’s long-term civil war, over 40,000 individuals have stepped on landmines, giving the country one of the highest percentages of disabled persons anywhere in the world. In Cambodia it is almost impossible for people with disabilities to find work.
This is where the Cambodian Handicraft Association (CHA) steps in.
Hay Kim Tha, a Khmer Rouge survivor, set up the organisation known as CHA in 2000 after seeing this lack of opportunity for disabled members of his community. CHA’s Phnom Penh based centre offers life, language and handicrafts skills training to women affected by polio, landmine injuries, deafness and mental trauma. The organisation’s aim is to boost members’ self-esteem and bring meaning to their lives by providing them with new skills, a home, a supportive sense of community and a pathway to self-reliance.
New Zealand is CHA’s biggest customer.
CHA works with people like Leung Tola. Tola is a double polio survivor who has been with CHA for nine years. In this time she has truly shone, with her skills leading her to become head teacher to other trainees. “Before I arrived here I was feeling hopeless, but now I am incredibly happy.” Listen as Tola tells you a little more about her life before and after CHA.
Sopheap is also affected by polio and her husband is a landmine survivor. She came to CHA at age 21, and has since used the skills gained there to set up a dressmaking shop in her village.
With funds from her business, Sopheap has been able to build a house for her family and provide a bright future for her children. She tells Trade Aid: ‘My son is studying a law degree at University in Phnom Penh, I send him money each week.’
Maly came to CHA when she was just 17 years, having been born both deaf and mute. Through CHA’s support and her own determination, Maly is now able to communicate in both Khmer and English. Being surrounded by people she can relate to has also allowed Maly to find her place and flourish. She now has a bold confidence that is hard to miss, and she thanks CHA for making her “dreams come true”.
Stories like these beautifully illustrate how the partnership between CHA and Trade Aid has improved the lives of many talented artisans through fair trade. It is your support that makes this possible. By purchasing products from CHA, you directly affect the lives of women like Tola, Sopheap and Maly.
It’s not every day that the simple act of purchasing something makes the world a better place. The great thing is that when you buy products from Trade Aid you are doing just that. CHA produces a wide range of intricately handwoven silk and cotton goods, all carefully and lovingly handmade to the highest standards, and every CHA product you buy makes a difference for people like Tola, Sopheap and Maly.