Posts Tagged With: women

Thanks to our supporters, Wool for Women is Pozible!

As the end of our pozible campaign edges closer we would again like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has pledged their support for our Wool for Women; Crafting in Cambodia project in 2013. The support we have received has been unprecedented and will help Aware in delivering Wool for Women 2013.

This Friday our pozible campaign will come to an end and we are hoping to reach $4000 which is more indicative of the running costs for our Wool for Women project.

Over the past few weeks we have watched as pledge after pledge has rolled in, strengthening our program and also strengthening our belief in the work we do here at Aware. Your support has been humbling and a real joy to be a part of.

To help us reach $4000 by Friday we are asking our supoprters, new and old, to spread the word via social media or to dig a little deeper and throw some spare change Aware’s way.

Your help will enable Aware to provide training and skill development for the women at Kampot run social enterprise Dorsu, helping them secure the sustainability of their creative livelihoods.

To learn more and to Pledge your support now please visit ‘Wool for Women; Crafting in Cambodia’ on Pozible.

wool for women flyer poz

Written by Louella Fitzsimmons

Categories: Cambodia, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


wool for women flyer back

Here at Aware, we would again like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who has pledged their personal contribution to our 2013 Wool for Women Pozible campaign.

To coincide with our Pozible campaign we are now launching Aware’s annual Wool Drive to provide much needed materials for our 2013 Wool for Women project this July in Kampot, Cambodia.

Wool for Women provides unique creative skill development and training workshops for women working at Kampot run social enterprise Dorsu.

The women of Dorsu create garments, whilst providing a local and international sewing service, working out of their own store in Kampot, Cambodia with revenue supporting the local Chumkriel Language School (CLS).

Wool for Women builds the skills of women working at Dorsu and asissts in helping them consolidate their creative and sustainable livelihoods in regional Cambodia.

As part of our annual Wool Drive we are asking our supporters to part with wool, ideally of 8 ply, new or old (whether purchased especially for the occasion or whether gathered from the recesses of your linen closet amidst other misdirected creative projects.. ) to help the women of Dorsu to build their skills and to make Wool for Women 2013 a success.


Donations can be organised by contacting Stacey via

Your contribution in Aware’s 2013 Wool Drive will help foster the creative livelihoods of women working at Dorsu and help drive positive change in their lives.

 Written by Louella Fitzsimmons  

Categories: Cambodia, Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Making Crafting in Cambodia pozible; securing sustainable livelihoods for women

 In May, Aware launched its Wool for Women; Crafting in Cambodia fundraising drive/campaign through crowd funding platform Pozible.  Aware’s Pozible campaign will raise the funds needed for the July instalment of the program whilst helping secure the project’s sustainability in Cambodia.

Our Pozible target is $2,500 (we are starting safe and smallish) but the total project budget is closer to $4000. This will cover the costs of travelling to and staying in Kampot, and materials for running the workshops. Any funds received above the target will go towards the full funding of the project or towards supporting Aware’s other projects in Kenya and Australia.

wool for women flyer poz

This July Aware volunteers will travel to Kampot, Cambodia, to deliver the second instalment of Aware’s Wool for Women program in collaboration with Cambodian run social enterprise Dorsu.

Wool for Women is a series of creative workshops designed to facilitate positive change in the lives of women working at Dorsu by fostering and developing creative wool based skills to consolidate their sustainable livelihoods.

The women of Dorsu work to create garments, and other creative handicrafts, whilst providing wholesale sewing services locally and abroad, with profits funding Kampot’s Chumkriel Language School. Dorsu provides a safe and positive work environment with regular hours and a competitive salary alongside unique training opportunities in garment production and customer service.

Aware’s work, in partnership with Dorsu, provides a valuable capacity building opportunity for women in a region where they often lack access to quality education and vocational training. Women living in regional Cambodia are often unable to partake in training opportunities without an income and therefore miss out on building their skills and establishing sustainable livelihoods. Wool for Women provides a unique opportunity for the women of Dorsu to earn an income while receiving training and learning new skills.  Aware’s in house workshops ensure a safe and welcoming environment in which training is accessible for all.

Wool for Women was launched in 2012 and Aware is looking forward to building on the successes of last year. The women at Dorsu quickly picked up the new skills and were consistently eager to learn more and to produce new items for the Dorsu store.

By contributing your pledge to our Wool for Women; Crafting in Cambodia Pozible campaign you will be contributing to skills based learning opportunities for women in Cambodia and helping them secure their own sustainable livelihoods of the future.

Written by Louella Fitzsimmons

Categories: Cambodia | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aware is… board member Gemma


Gemma joined Aware because she believes strongly in helping to provide opportunities and new skills for women. She’s been involved in development work only just this year since joining the Aware board and is really enjoying helping out. A part from this she is also the Fundraising Director at the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and is really passionate about teaching young people about how they can create their own action on climate change. She also really loves penguins.

Categories: Stories from Volunteers | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

The Sapphires – an AWARE fundraiser

On Sunday night, more than 70 people gathered to watch The Sapphires at Westgarth Cinemas in Melbourne.

The Sapphires is based on a true story about a four aborginal women who form a soul group and go to Vietnam to sing for the American troops.

You can check out the trailer here:

Nearly a thousand dollars was raised to help support our new program in Melbourne (stay tuned to find out more!) and our continued work in Kenya and Cambodia.

Thank you so much for coming and enjoying this great film with us!

Categories: Events | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Guest post: Hanna Director of Dorsu

Aware’s visit to Dorsu was very valuable. We established project objectives, and achieved them much faster than planned, but the over-arching theme that recurred in many conversations was connection and creativity. The staff response to hosting volunteers was great. We knew that everyone would enjoy working together but I didn’t realise just how well it would happen. Learning crochet, laughing at having to be creative in finding ways to communicate and seeing all the new products really brought a light-heartedness to the work days. Watching the customer response to new products, and the excitement that generates in the store has been fantastic.
Supplies for the project, particularly wool, are not available in Cambodia so it was a wonderful surprise to see the volunteers arrive with cases full of donated goods. We greatly appreciate the support from Australia.
The partnership with Aware is exciting. It is vital for us to work with an organisation that values developing a long-term connection. Knowing that Aware have committed to returning for new training and continuing with supplies support is really important for Dorsu, we’re looking forward to more projects in the future.
<i>Written by Hanna, Director of Dorsu</i>
Categories: Cambodia, Projects | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aware in Cambodia. Part III: Learning to crochet!

One week of Wool for Women crochet lessons down and the project is a huge hit.

Kunthear, Samorn, Socheat, Sothy, Saphorn, Srey tooich and Hanna have quickly picked up the skill and have gone from practicing granny squares to making broaches ready to sell in a matter of days.

Their Granny Squares will be hung up around Dorsu to display their achievements and brighten the place up, we have now built up stocks of adorable baby hats and cute flower broaches.

Everyone is getting involved, including “Lucky” the cat. Check out these photos from the week gone by:

Written by volunteer, Stacey

Categories: Cambodia, Projects, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

Why focus on women?

seventy per cent of the world’s 1.3 billion people living on less than US$1 a day are women or girls.[1]

This is an unacceptable truth and a reason for Aware’s newest programme, Wool For Women. This art-based empowerment programme aims to train and work solely with women to create sustainable income through craft. Many aid and community development projects focus on women’s empowerment, so what is the value of working with women?

Investing in women and girls’ health, education, and livelihoods has a multiplier effect on poor communities around the world. In the long run, no Development project can succeed without a commitment to gender equality. The United Nation’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG) # 3 is to ‘promote gender equality and empower women’. One of the best paths to accomplishing this goal is in the economic realm, because women and girls yield economic returns for society, which impacts families and the community as a whole.[2][3]

Women are the ‘poorest of the poor’, and the ‘third world woman’, because she cares for the children and maintains a traditional home, bears a greater burden of poverty and lack of mobility. A greater market orientation for women redistributes not only money, but also the fulfilment of basic needs and personal aspirations of her family and community. Through microfinance and capability training, letting women manage the money increases the likelihood that the entire household benefits. Whereas men are more likely to spend financial aid or income on personal livelihoods, women invest in food, education and medicine.

Women’s lack of participation in the economic sphere is a structural problem. According to the OECD Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI), family codes, violence against women, civil liberties, ownership rights, and other social and cultural institutions limit the access of women to employment, inheritance and financial loans.[4] That is, ‘the ability of a woman to transform her life through access to financial services depends on many factors—some of them linked to her individual situation and abilities, and others dependent upon her environment and the status of women as a group’.[5] Women’s lack of control of capital is one facet of how the cycle of poverty and powerlessness replicates itself throughout generations.

Women in Cambodia have an immediate need for work and money, and a strategic need for equal rights. Aware is excited to take part in working towards both of these goals with the commencement of Wool for Women.

[1] The World Bank. 2012. Gender Equality as Smart Economics. Washington DC: The World Bank.
[2] United Nations. 2011. ‘Millennium Development Goals.’ Accessed 15 March 2011.
[3] The World Bank. 2012. Gender Equality as Smart Economics. Washington DC: The World Bank.
[4] Organisation for Economic Co-opeartion and Development (OECD). 2012. Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI). Paris: OECD.
[5] Cheston, Susy, and Lisa Kuhn. 2001. Empowering Women through Microfinance. Research sponsored by the Women’s Opportunity Fund. UNIFEM.

Written by volunteer, Sara

Categories: Are you aware?, Cambodia, Projects | Tags: , , , | Leave a 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

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