Posts Tagged With: sustainable development

A Crafternoon in Cambodia

During my time in Cambodia running Wool for Women, I took some time out to get to know an amazing social enterprise in Batambang – Kinyei. Promoting sustainable travel they run socially responsible bike tours, have a café which serves the best coffee in town, and provide jobs and training to young people. They also have a space dedicated to exhibiting local art. With our mutual interest in working with young people and creativity, I couldn’t help but get involved.

Aware sponsored an afternoon of art and craft within the art space above Kinyei café. We spent hours drawing, cutting, pasting, stitching, creating and having fun. We made broaches, embroidered signs, made paper decorations, sketched and more. It was a lovely way to bring the community together in a safe and fun space. The craft materials that I left with the group have been used in a second workshop, organised by Kinyei staff, creating decorations to liven up the café.

The community of Kinyei – and in particular the young people – relish the chance to get creative and express themselves. In the future, Aware will assist Kinyei in running regular arts workshops, with the aim of building self-confidence in the youth of Batambang.

Check out Kinyei’s projects,


Written by volunteer, Stacey

Categories: Cambodia, Projects, Stories from Volunteers | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Film Recommendation: Wasteland

Filmed over nearly three years, WASTE LAND follows renowned artist Vik Muniz as he journeys from his home base in Brooklyn to his native Brazil and the world’s largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. There he photographs an eclectic band of “catadores”—self-designated pickers of recyclable materials. Muniz’s initial objective was to “paint” the catadores with garbage. However, his collaboration with these inspiring characters as they recreate photographic images of themselves out of garbage reveals both the dignity and despair of the catadores as they begin to re-imagine their lives.

This documentary effectively explores issues of environment and sustainability, social exclusion, ‘development,’ and the ability of art to bring about change in the lives of marginilised people and raise awareness of such issues.

The film was a strong reminder of why we use forms of self-expression to empower communities. It is so encouraging to see a world famous artist working so closely with an important group within society that often gets forgotten. Not only was the art resulting from this project phenomenal, the stories of the catadores are unforgettable. I would recommend taking the time to watch Wasteland, as there are so many things that we can learn from it, about wider global issues, individual stories, the power of art and what can be achieved through it. One can’t help but be inspired.

Written by volunteer, Stacey

Categories: Are you aware? | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Aware in Cambodia. Part II: Dorsu

Sua s’dei from Kampot, Cambodia!

First, I just want to tell you how lovely the women at Dorsu are. We’re two days in to the Wool for Women project, and they have all made us feel at home. Plus they have taken to crocheting with enthusiasm.

Second, let me tell you about Dorsu and the women behind it. What is now a beautiful store one block back from the river in the relaxed town of Kampot was conceptualised in 2008 by a local seamstress Kunthear and traveling Australian volunteer Hanna. Volunteering at the Chumkriel Language School (CLS) and living in the Kampot community Hanna got to know Kunthear and her sewing skills. The business they created was based around selling clothes and gifts to tourists to raise money for Chumkriel Learning Centre (CLC), a safe and creative learning space for children. Hanna and Kunthear set up their sewing machine in the corner or the loud room and got to work. By 2009 they rented a small loft in town to allow customers to see their garments being made and then moved into a shop in 2010 where they were able to operate weeklong and grow their team.

Today, Dorsu employs six women and produces a range of dresses, bags, shirts, pants, skirts, shorts, and more. They offer passersby the opportunity to purchase local and handmade goods that have a positive impact on the community.

I encourage anyone traveling in the area to pop in, alternatively Aware has a range of their goods to sell in Melbourne which you can purchase at markets or contact us at to get more information on how you can help support this fantastic community!

For more info on Dorsu see

Written by volunteer, Stacey

Categories: Cambodia, Projects | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Aware in Cambodia. Part 1: social enterprises

Two days in Cambodia and I’m already inspired and mesmerised by this place.

In case any of you are thinking about traveling here, I wanted to share with you some places I found that will help you engage in community development while you go about your holiday. Phnom penh is buzzing with social enterprises –  causes that use trade to fund social programs.

If you head to the Russian market, Psar Tuol Tom Pong, a number of stores around the market boast fair-trade or ethical products. Among them is Nyemo which helps disadvantaged women return to work. Rajana which supports 130 producer groups through the principles of fair-trade. Alongside Rajana is Cafe Yejj, although its quite a western cafe, it does achieve a social impact through responsible employment.

Closer to the National Museum you will find Friends ‘n’ Stuff, a charity style store full of handmade and up-cycled goods. Next door is the very successful Friends restaurant which is run by former street children and their teachers. I must say that they food there is amazing and the staff are lovely. Check out their cookbooks here.

These are just few of the many social enterprise shopping and dining options, I encourage anyone spending time in Phnom Penh to check it out and make sustainable travel choices.

Written by volunteer, Stacey
Categories: Cambodia, Projects, Stories from Volunteers | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sustainable Development – what does that even mean?

In a recent article in The Conversation about sustainable development raised some interesting points on government’s lack of initiative when it comes to implementing policy.

Basically the article’s conclusion is that without a united vision for a country or a world for generations to come sustainable development falls flat within policy creation.

The author, Mike Burbridge writes:

Let’s be clear: we are all the same. We care about improving our quality of life as we see it. But we all have different views about the time frames that encircle our decision making. Sustainable development doesn’t: it is blind when it comes to time. There is simply no question: sustainable development requires that we think about generations to come. It requires that decisions we take or policies we announce today take into account the effects on tomorrow’s generation

What does this have to do with Aware you ask?

Well, we’re offering up our vision for a sustainable future and sustainable development. We’re suggesting that encouraging self-empowerment through art, crafts, and education will create new visions for what sustainable communities could look like.

Categories: Are you aware? | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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