Woven Textiles creates opportunities for rural artisans to develop their trade into a stable financial resource, thus empowering artisans to achieve goals that were previously beyond their reach.
Woven Textile’s founder, Joe Fernandez, first traveled to the rural Laos community of Sop Chem in the summer of 2016. He discovered a beautiful village of 58 tight knit families filled with people who live simple and purposeful lives...a purpose to create opportunity for their families, their community, and themselves - goals all humans share.
For generations, the people of Sop Chem have relied on a subsistence lifestyle to provide them with life and to fulfill these goals. However, with the development of parts of Laos and the world around them, there are now forms of progress the community desires that their current lifestyle cannot provide them with. These new opportunities require money.
Opportunities to generate income in Sop Chem are generally limited to selling extra crops, livestock, fish, and game and the occasional sale of handwoven textiles. With these limited opportunities comes limited economic, social, and educational progress. The costs of a simple home, food, water, and medicine are huge financial burdens. Families are unable to pay for their children to attend school in distant towns, invest in fishing boats or livestock, or buy tractors to work their fields.
However, the families of Sop Chem have an incredible asset that can bring economic stability to the community - their handwoven textiles. 35 families in Sop Chem own looms, allowing them to weave goods to use and sell. Artisans work year-round weaving works of art that take between 3 and 10 days to make. Currently, sales are extremely limited by the small number of tourists and locals who visit the remote village, but Woven Textiles will change that.
By telling the weavers stories and sharing their beautiful handwoven textiles with the world, Woven Textiles is catalyzing the development of weaving in Sop Chem. Woven Textiles provides support for weavers through the sale of their goods and investment into the development of their trade. With your support, we are creating a source of economic stability and opportunity for an entire community.