Genevieve’s Fair Trade Village

Genevieve’s Fair Trade Village (GFTV) is a social enterprise creating a fair trade environment for artisans and craftspeople with disabilities in Siem Reap, Cambodia.  Based on a cooperative model, the artisans receive 80-90% of the sale price and the remainder goes to pay our small, dedicated and lovely staff who are also disabled.  GFTV has two primary goals.  First, that the artisan members and employees rise from isolation and poverty to living as productive members of the community making a living wage and helping to support their families.  Second, is the enterprise becomes self-sustaining as soon as possible, completely orchestrated by our artisans and staff.  These are not only realistic, but on the horizon.  As our community grows, there is even more potential.  We hope to raise awareness about our products and purpose, but also to further a culture of access and inclusion for everyone in the community.

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One of our shining stars is Sokhean.  She is 58 and makes bamboo flutes and weaves cases for

them out of palm leaves.  Twenty years ago she stepped on a landmine and lost a leg.  Her husband passed away the same year.  She was left to raise 5 boys on her own, in a small village just east of Angkor Wat.  Giving up never occurred to her.  She used her ingenuity and found she could carve bamboo flutes to sell to tourists visiting the nearby temples.  She would sell them in bulk and usually receive only 10% of the sale price.  It was a struggle but she persevered.  Her boys grew up and are all married now and moved on.  A proud wonderful woman, she now mostly just worries about her boys, as all mothers do.  Her youngest, 19, still lives nearby but she had lost touch with the other four.  Since she started working with us, she now receives 80% of the sale price of her crafts. She recently bought a cell phone, previously an unthinkable luxury.  She is still learning to use it, but is now in touch with her other sons.  You should see her smile when she speaks with them.  Access and inclusion, a single success story.  Genevieve’s Fair Trade Village hopes to nurture many more!

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