For a better future, children in Laos need quality education. However, the poor rural families cannot afford this, as their income is too small.
In order to increase family income we support the families in setting up the production of high-quality silk cooperating with a local social enterprise.
We have started the program in the poor villages of Southern Laos. As a first step the farmers plant mulberry trees for feeding the silkworms.
It takes cycles of 20 days for the silkworms to grow – being fed regularly with the fresh leaves of the mulberry tree.
After 20 days the worms reach the last stage of development. Our partner then buys the cocoons at fair prices.
The local training team intensively helps the farmers in the villages to ensure complete development of the silkworms into cocoons.
High quality cocoons can be processed with machines operated by semi-skilled workers. This helps to generate employment for the young.
After coloring the raw silk is transformed into high-quality products by skilled female weavers. The products are also exported as Fair Trade goods to Europe.
The program concept is based on a deep community involvement. In a next step we also discuss how we can support youth education in Laos.
Increase of income from production of quality silk
Laos is one of the poorest countries in the world. During the Vietnam War it was heavily bombed. Duds and mine fields still endanger the population. In addition, the autocratic government has not been able to provide the residents with a comprehensive health system, a functioning infrastructure, independent legal authorities or a good educational system. Unemployment is high. Still villagers mostly pursue subsistence farming, growing rice and herding small livestock.
Mulberry trees and silkworm breeding in the villages
We want to help the villagers to use their land in a profitable way. Therefore, we help them to produce high-quality silk. Many families have already pursued basic silk production, but have not been able to live on it. We help them to double their annual salary by investing and improving production quality. Other families take the first steps into the business of breeding silkworms. Our local partner, a social enterprise called May Savanh Lao, supports the people with the planting of Mulberry treestrees to feed the silkworms, and protective huts for breeding them.
Training of technical advisors and silk farmers
May Savanh Lao also purchases the cocoons from the farmers and processes and markets them in its factory in Vientiane with local staff. As a social enterprise our partner has a natural interest to get high-quality products from the villages while it also ensures a positive social impact. We send the teams of technical advisors for advanced training to Thailand, so that they can offer the farmers personalized consulting services. In the future we want to acquire certificates for the mulberry plantations according to international organic standards.