By Amorette Aryee, Semester at Sea, Spring 2017
During my travels in Vietnam, I stumbled upon a local craft shop called Mekong Quilts and Mekong Creations. The small store was filled with handmade products that showed detailed handiworks, exquisite designs, and vivid colors. All of the goods sold in the store were handmade by women in rural Vietnam and Cambodia. This store is a part of a large network called Mekong Plus.
Mekong Quilts and Mekong Creations is a non-profit organization that focuses on employing and educating women. These women are able to become financially independent and can provide for their families. By selling their products through this service, the women have the option of working in or out of the home. They are able to choose based on their needs and family circumstances. All of the profits made are used to support this initiative.
Additionally, Mekong Plus awards scholarships, micro-loans, and supports health and agriculture programs. This program has provided over 500 jobs to impoverished women. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to find this shop. Its mission and the methods of empowering women in rural Vietnam and Cambodia are truly inspiring.