Cambodia, Ethical shopping, Human and Hope Association, Q & A

A conversation with Phalla from Human and Hope Association

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Phalla, one of the sewing teachers at Human and Hope Association. Phalla was a student in the very first semester of the sewing program, from April – July 2013. After the semester ended, she was hired as a Sewing Assistant, learning further skills from Human and Hope Association’s sewing teacher, Seyla, and developing her teaching skills.

Now coming into her fourth year of working at Human and Hope Association, Phalla empowers other Cambodian women with the skill of sewing and also develops new products for our online store. Here is what Phalla had to say about her role.

Why do you love working at Human and Hope Association?

I love working at HHA because I can develop myself a lot. I have really improved my knowledge and skills through my teaching and by joining staff development workshops every Sunday. I also receive a fair salary and I like HHA’s condition of employment. The staff are very friendly and easy to work with. Furthermore, I like my job because I can share my knowledge with the villagers.

Can you tell us a story about a student you are so proud of?

I am so proud one of my students who comes from a really poor family. She has had a very difficult life as her husband divorced from her. I am so proud of her because she studies so hard and respects both her classmates and myself. She is an active participant in class and upholds the student core values very well. Her learning is better than others because when I teach her something, she can understand and needs less support from me. In the future, I believe that she will use this skill very well.

What do you like about developing products for Hope Handicrafts?

Developing handicrafts is such a great experience for myself and our seamstresses. I can learn and gain experience when I test new products. It has also helped me with my problem-solving ability. It also makes me very happy that HHA can earn money through selling these new products. I feel like I have a direct impact on the money that HHA makes by doing this, and am helping my community further.

What is your favourite sewing product that the seamstresses make?

My favourite product is the kroma shoulder bag. I really like this product because it shows one of the creative uses of using a kroma (Cambodian scarf) and also tells the buyers about Cambodia as well.

What is your dream for the seamstresses’ futures?

In the future, I want to see our seamstresses earn a better income than nowadays and improve their standard of living. I want to see they have their own job at homes and are able to support their families with this wonderful skill.

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