MANAVA: Transforming Female Artisans’ Lives in Cambodia

If you haven’t visited Siem Reap yet, you might not be aware that it is a hub for social entrepreneurship and innovation. When I had the privilege to work at the Cambodian Community Dream Organization in Fall 2017, I also met a number of ex-pats working to empower the local residents in Cambodia as well.

During my first couple of weeks in Siem Reap, I met Ka-Lai, co-founder of MANAVA, a social enterprise that tackles unemployment among females in Cambodia. MANAVA identifies local female artisans who can craft artisanal masterpieces to sell to the local and global markets. In Cambodia, the average daily income is approximately $2 USD per day, not nearly enough to support a family with multiple children and sometimes extended family. Ka-Lai co-founded this organization with the aim to provide a sustainable source of income for these women, and since its inception she and her partner have changed the lives of 15 women in Siem Reap by providing them a livable wage and meaningful employment.

Female artisan working on the pattern for one of her crafts

Following MANAVA’s journey since returning to the US, they have had tremendous success and are only going to continue to grow, but they need our help to expand their reach and continue to grow this social enterprise and provide employment for more women in Cambodia.

MANAVA is hosting a fundraising campaign where you can donate or purchase attire, placemats for your table, accessories, and more! 

Look at that detail!

If you’re looking for a unique holiday gift for your friends and family, please have a look at the campaign and support their efforts to transform the lives of female artisans across Cambodia. MANAVA’s campaign will end on Saturday, December 8 so don’t miss your chance to own a beautifully handcrafted piece of art that tells the story of Khmer culture and history. 

If you’d like to see what else these incredible women have made, please check out their online shop (they ship globally)!