Note: Alliance Women has chosen six projects to support with our prayers and financial gifts. Each project has been assigned a day of the week for concentrated prayer.
CAMACrafts began in the Hmong refugee camps in Thailand almost 40 years ago. It has since become a social enterprise that provides income to 250 village women, mostly from the Hmong ethnic group. Women use their traditional cultural skills to make handicrafts, earning an income to pay for essentials such as medical costs, school books and uniforms, and transportation. Women can work from their own homes in their free time, allowing them to remain the primary caregivers. We celebrate the opportunity for women to pass on traditional embroidery skills to the next generation.
CAMACrafts sells these handicrafts in local and foreign markets. We believe that as producers earn incomes through safe and dignified work while living at home, this allows them to stay in their home communities rather than seeking work in urban centers or in other Asian countries that put them at risk.
We recently discovered that two of our production office staff worked at a garment factory before coming to CAMACrafts. When asked what it was like, they said, “Well, we were a lot more tired.” They have left the exhaustion of the sweatshop behind and are now working in a place where they have time to laugh with their friends, welcome visiting producers, and show their creativity. They have found a place where they feel they belong.
CAMACrafts would like to expand to include producers and designs from additional ethnic groups in remote areas. These groups are already experiencing improvement in health, hygiene, and education through community development efforts. Dozens have found freedom from drug addiction and now follow Christ. CAMACrafts would like to come alongside by providing a means of supplemental income to these villagers and giving them a way to link the new things they are learning to the rich heritage and traditions of the communities to which they belong.
A CAMA Services worker who works with these community development projects has agreed to introduce CAMACrafts staff to villagers. Several young women have been identified as potential producers. These young women have already been leading the way in community development and education—one was the first girl from her village to attend high school and is now studying at the national university.
Initially, CAMACrafts hopes to recruit and train women who can produce cross-stitch embroidered and traditionally quilted pieces that can be sold to Western and Asian markets. In the second year, CAMACrafts would like to explore purchasing traditionally spun cotton thread and hand-woven cotton cloth from these women in addition to embroidered pieces. CAMACrafts will train producers in designs that are attractive to foreign markets and in techniques to improve embroidery skills.
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.