We are thrilled to announce a new project for Safe Haven. It is a community craft project which will help kids who are abandoned by parents due to financial reasons. Unfortunately many single parents lack sufficient family support and are unable to work. This means they are put in a situation where either they, and the child, starves, is at severe risk of neglect/trafficking/malnutrion or they give it up to an orphanage (or come to us).  But, instead of providing residential care, Safe Haven is now providing home-based employment. As a result, mothers  (or caregivers) will not be needlessly separated from their child. They will get vocational training and benefit from a steady income. Phalla is our new Project Manager and brings to the role dress-making and art skills and 6 years of teaching experience. She is also able to truly identify with the women as she came from a poor background and so therefore knows of their struggles.

Our first crafter: Yan Chan

Our crafters will be trained by Phalla in several different skills – embroidery, sewing, crochet/lace etc. The vision is to design and produce a range of home and style accessories to accompany the Kampot pepper and Mondulkiri coffee that we already sell.We are using a mixture of recycled fabrics, old newspapers, rice bags etc as well as more traditional Khmer fabrics.

We will be producing a range of products that will not only appeal to supporters of the charity, but also as a stand alone range of beautifully made, artisanal crafts.. We will be selling the products in the UK – online (through this site and others), at events and at a range of boutique. The money will go directly back into buying the necessary materials and paying the women’s salaries. Any profit made will be used to support Mlop Children’s Home.

So far, the project has only been running 3 weeks!  Although fledgling, with only 1 crafter, the project has already prevent helped one case of unnecessary abandonment. Yay Chan’s 3 month old grandson, Meng Hong, is now able to stay in the bosom of his family.

His mother had suffered post-natal shock which had left her with severe memory loss, brain damage and a loss of movement on her right side. Pitifully, she is only 21. As a result, Yan Chan assumed care of the child.

 

Meng Hong

 

Unfortunately, she could not work with a baby and therefore was relying on (very intermittent) handouts of baby formula. She therefore approached Safe Haven to look after the Meng Hong whilst she could save up enough money to afford food for him. This project was the perfect opportunity for Yay Chan who was devastated at the idea of being separated from her grandson. It has also given her the independence of making her own money. Below are pictures of Yay Chan, learning to craft:

 

We are thrilled to have been able to help this family stay together, after all the trauma that they have been through, and we can’t wait to see all the beautiful things she makes!

We are in the process of recruiting 3 further women and will update you with their stories very soon. We also have a poll on Facebook to help us choose the name for this new project. Check it out!

Here are some ideas of products that will be produced. If you have any more ideas, please contact us.

 

Bracelets recycled from t-shirts,

Handmade lace/crochet jewellery,

Cushion covers,

Embroided Khmer silk and cotton scarves,

Stuffed toys,

Mobiles for babies as well as bibs,

Bags recycled from rice bags,

Totes made from Cambodian scarves,

Picture frames,

Christmas decorations