Supporting women with disabilities in participating in normal community life.
Cambodian Handicraft Association (CHA) is an NGO set up in 2000 by a local group of Khmer people who realised how difficult it is to obtain any sort of employment as a disabled woman in Cambodia. The organisation offers women with disabilities from landmines or polio a new skills base which will eventually allow them to return to their communities and lead an independent life.
The women produce a range of completely handmade Cambodian silk goods. The products are absolutely beautiful and the majority of the silk is sourced from a local village, where it is all hand woven. The costs of running the project are covered by selling the artists’ work in the shop, they receive no grants or aid.
Cambodia currently has three active landmines for every Cambodian man woman and child. Most of these are in known areas, but the risk of injury by these weapons remains ever present. Polio is a devastating disease, leaving survivors with varying degrees of disability. There is no state support for the disabled in Cambodia, and it is almost impossible to find work and they are therefore seen as a burden on their families. CHA provides a way out of this dependency. The NGO provides a home and friendly environment to build the self-esteem of the trainees. Teaching them and the public that the disabled are in fact able.
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