Look at what innovation can bring!
Beating Covid - Our partners at Cambodia Knits are proving it is possible! These gorgeous toys are a not just a toy. To the many women at Cambodia Knits they are a livelyhood. There is no one who recognises that more than Monika, their founder. With the impacts of Covid 19 hitting Cambodian economy and production capacity hard, Cambodia Knits have also felt the pinch of cancelled orders, reduced production and ultimately no income generation. But where there is a will, there is a way.
Cambodia Knits is inspiration for how this can be done. With leadership that embraced the challenge taking the 'bull by the horns', Monika has lead her team with an 'onward and upward' attitude. Their skills have been turned to develop online video tutorials for teaching crochet, they've built a knitter subscription program and made childhood playtime come alive. All whilst ensuring that the staff is valued and respected and little things like celebrating birthdays, never goes unmissed. The Covid journey has lead them to follow a new path (just for now) that is allowing the team to shine brightly and keep their spirits high in this crapy time. They really are shining brightly! Here's what they have been up to.
Sponsorship keeps knitters knitting.
Loyalty is key to a successful social enterprise and CK has been 100% committed to keeping on as many knitters as possible. Patreonage became a big part of Monika's plea to have their knitters supported. There is no way to pay the wages of staff if there is no money coming in. Subscription programs were used to campaign for monthly contributions to keep the women knitting. Each pledged not only supported the women at CK, but enabled Cambodia Knits to gift toys to preschools, day care centres and hospitals for kids. Effectively your subscription paid for the production of toys which were then gifted to those in need and generated income for the employees at CK. At the onset of Covid 19, Monika put together the above video outlining '7 ways that you can support Cambodia Knits' and began reaching out to their community. It's great to watch and see her passion and commitment flow through to help the women at CK.
Crochet Courses Online.
With many of their knitters located outside of Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, staying connected with their knitters was their first challenge but also a necessity. With training programs happening in communities in far out provinces and quality of production needing to be monitored, travel restrictions placed a stop to all movement throughout Cambodia. The CK team were quickly onto developing a series of crochet teaching and tutorial videos for their women. Like many businesses it had always been a 'wishful' project that often got shelved and now came the crucial time to bring the idea to life. Sharing skills is a big part of CK's approach to supporting communities. They aim to continue to grow a movement of self empowerment through knitting programs in marginalised community. If you can't be with your team to train more knitters, CK knew the only option was to send the courses to the knitters via videos! They are of course in Khmer, the language of Cambodia and have been utilised by other social enterprise such as Cambodian Women's Support Group who Modimade also partners with to upskill and teach new techniques to women, expanding opportunity. Now Cambodia Knits can actually reach MORE women than before!
Times to celebrate.
Cambodia Knits showed us what Fair Trade is all about - it’s about being part of a team during this Covid crisis. Not only did they provide support and security for their workers, they paid attention to the little things that help to keep moral high. CK truely showed their team that their workplace is a place where you are valued, respected and cherished - no one is left forgotten and this flows right down to birthday cakes and blue marshmellows.