Stung Treng Women’s Development Centre (SWDC) offers a 6 month, full time programme in the art of silk weaving. The programme is aimed at a target audience, typically women from a female headed household. To begin with, women have to complete and pass a literacy and health education class, this enables them to develop news skills and increase their employability. They are then able to apply to attend the vocational training in traditional silk weaving and sewing. The course is offered free of charge and is taught by a professional trainer.
In order to support the women further, SWDC provide a monthly allowance, and free lunch to all trainees. This enables the women to leave current jobs and participate in the training, in order to further their professional skills and job prospects. Women who have to travel long distances are offered a fair payment scheme for a bicycle.
After the women have completed their training, they are offered jobs in the areas they are most confident in, within SWDC’s ‘Mekong Blue’ enterprise, where products are sold around Cambodia. Further to this, on the job training is provided meaning both new and old skills are constantly being developed. So far this programme has led to previously unemployed women being able to gain employment and has also led to women feeling a sense of independence and empowerment. There has been a reduction in local and regional poverty as women are able to generate an income and therefore are able to support their families and invest in the local economy.