Cambodia has a rich history and tradition of art and craft dating back centuries to ancient pottery, textiles, silversmithing and carving. Examples can still be seen today in ancient palaces and temples including the famous Angkor Wat.
Sadly many artistic traditions disappeared under the rule of the Khmer Rouge, however, Cambodian art and craft has experienced a recent revival with local people rediscovering the knowledge and skills of the past.
It’s upon this rich tradition that new opportunities are being created for people from disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve dignity and independence.
The women that Kroma is working with come from various backgrounds including survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, women with disabilities, including victims of landmines, and women whose families have been displaced as a result of corrupt land deals.
Each of these women brings with them a craft or a willingness to learn. They are supported and encouraged to use traditional methods and themes, but combine these with innovative approaches, incorporating recycled and locally sourced materials.
Ms Mach is typical of the women Kroma works with. She is a landmine victim who has been trained in bag making and design, and now teachers her skills to other women who are undergoing rehabilitation from injury or exploitation.