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The faces behind your handicraft

The faces behind your handicrafts…

Did you ever wonder who made the products you buy? Rest assured that when buying from Ock Pop Tok, you buy an artisan made product. And your purchase not only helps these artisans make a living from traditional crafts but also supports the preservation of local culture. Let's have a look at the faces behind your handicrafts...

Since October 2019, in collaboration with the EIF (Enhanced Integrated Framework), we’ve been working with artisans from 6 different villages and 3 provinces. As part of our Village Weavers Project (VWP), we help them develop ranges of handicrafts that combine craftsmanship and tradition with realistic creativity and market knowledge.

Our team of weavers, dyers, designers and tailors transfer their skills to aid artisans to make a better living from handicrafts. Training and transfer of knowledge and skills are an essential part of our collaboration with artisans. Watch this video to learn more about our latest training sessions in northern Laos.

While in Oudomxai, Luang Namtha and Phongsaly meeting all these artisans we work with, we thought maybe you would like to have a peek behind the curtain and see for yourself all these faces behind the handicrafts you purchase…

The majority of textile artisans are women for whom textile production is only one aspect of their daily life and income. Supporting the businesses of women has been found to have significant benefits for their families and communities thus contributing to sustainable development and reducing poverty.

There are limited income generating opportunities in rural areas. Strengthening the textile production businesses provides rural people with the opportunity to earn an income while remaining in their community. This means that the income also stays in the village, empowering the community through economic development.

Textile production is a “value added” product, meaning that it combines raw materials with skilled labour to produce the final product. This type of product provides a much better financial return for the community than simply selling the raw materials. By performing the value added or skilled labour aspect of the product within the village, it strengthens the industry and income for the community.

Textile production in Laos has strong cultural significance. Much of the technical and esoteric knowledge is passed from generation to generation within the village and often has a distinct character from group to group. This means that there is a strong geographical link to preserving the cultural integrity of Lao textiles. Learn more about the different ethnic groups we work with around Laos through our Village Weavers Project.

When you buy a product from Ock Pop Tok, you can be sure that:

Not only do we work with the artisans to develop marketable products and train them to achieve higher quality finished products but we, of course, also pay the artisans fairly for the products we buy from them.

We only work with the finest raw materials and oversee all productions steps to guarantee the highest quality products using environmentally friendly techniques.

We are actively involved with Lao organisations. We work closely with the Lao Handicraft Association and we partner with different Lao government departments to help eradicate poverty in the rural areas of Laos.

We work in all areas of the value chain so we can guarantee to our customers that we apply the fair trade principles at each stage of the chain, from sourcing raw materials to producing the finished product.

We educate visitors around the world about Lao crafts to develop a deeper appreciation of both the high level of skill involved and the cultural significance of designs. Learn more about techniques, motifs and materials.

We have set up a wide range of programmes to support artisans and local communities around Laos and educate visitors about Lao textiles and traditions.

Check our website regularly as we’ll add in the upcoming weeks and months, more content on the artisans we work with through this project. You’ll get to take a stroll though their village, familiarize yourself with their techniques and learn more about their production process.

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This activity was supported by ECL Project which is funded by the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF).

EIF is an Aid for Trade partnership in action for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Operational since 2009, the EIF is a multi-donor program that supports the LDCs to become more active players in the global trading system by helping them tackle supply-side constraints to trade.

ECL Project intends to promote private sector-led economic growth in the least developed Northern Region of the country in response to the Government’s eight National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP). The project consists of three components: Improvement of the local business environment, Enhancement of productivity and exports of critical sectors, and project management.

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