Lia* was so tired. She hated her job at the garment factory. She could handle the long days—six days a week—with few breaks, but she hated the way her supervisor constantly shamed her for not working fast enough. She hated mindlessly sewing the same patterned pieces together all day, and she especially hated the blatant harassment from the men who hung around at the doors as the women entered and exited the factory.
But Lia was lucky that her family lived in a small apartment near the factory. That meant that Lia could stay with them where it was safe, and she didn’t have to live in the crowded, factory-provided housing. A number of those women ended up working in the nearby brothels during their hours off.
Then, Lia heard about a job opening at CAMACrafts. Her grandmother had done embroidery work for the CAMACrafts handicraft business when their family fled to the refugee camps in Thailand after the Vietnam War, and she continued embroidering for CAMACrafts when the family returned to their home county shortly before Lia was born. Lia was fascinated by the intricate patterns and longed to be able to make the same beautiful, traditional art that her grandmother did.
Lia gathered her courage and asked about the job. She was surprised that the CAMACrafts manager agreed to hire her even though she had so little work experience. She later learned that CAMACrafts valued being able to provide young people with work experience to begin their résumés so that they would have better opportunities in the future.
Lia quickly caught on to the hand stitching method for the reverse-applique patterns. The older woman who supervised the embroidery producers offered to teach Lia how to fold and cut the patterns into the cloth—a process that took extra patience and practice to master. The practice paid off when a foreign customer special-ordered a tablecloth with an especially difficult pattern; Lia felt honored when the supervisor chose her to do the intricate embroidery work. Lia especially enjoyed the company-sponsored “Creative Days” when the employees were encouraged to use whatever supplies they liked, working alone or in groups to come up with new products. Lia felt so proud when several of her original designs quickly sold at CAMACrafts’ local retail shop.
Please pray for the many young women who lack opportunities for safe and dignified work in this region of the world. Pray for families who see no option but to accept dangerous or demeaning work to make ends meet. Pray for CAMACrafts whose goal is to provide work and opportunity for new producers from a second ethnic group.
Alliance Women is committed to prayer and financial support for the CAMACrafts ministry in the South Pacific region. We have set a goal to raise $17,000 for the expansion of this vital ministry to women. To participate, please visit www.alliancewomen.org/give.