As some of you might already know I had two Swedish companions in Cambodia until a couple of months ago. They did not really have anything to do with my work at Forum Syd, nor with any of our partner organizations; they had, and still have, their own development project, the Kroma project.
My friends’ – Erik and Sophie – project took its base in the traditional Khmer scarf, the Kroma, that is used for all different possible (and sometimes almost impossible) things, probably mostly known among foreigners from the Khmer rouge time; Pol Pot and his fellow lunatic friends used the Kroma around their neck or face for cover.
Eriks and Sophis project is aiming at bringing these hand wowed cotton scarfs from Cambodia – where they are sold for about 2 dollars each – to our rich home country in the north where fellow citizens gladly will pay the tenfold for a genuine Cambodian Kroma and, at the same time contribute a little bit to the development of this amazing country. After selling the Kromas the money will go back to a few selected families and the women’s development center in Bantey Meanchey province in the north eastern parts of Cambodia, in order to secure food and children’s education.
My friends’ stay in Cambodia is, as I mentioned earlier, over and they are safely back home in Sweden. The project is not over thou. Last week they attended a music festival in the northern parts of our country where the first real sale of the newly imported scarfs was to be sold. From what I’ve heard it went really well, perhaps was a better spot, where the Kromas would’ve been seen by (even) more, a point of desired improvement. Erik said that this will be dealt with for next years festival! If I’m not mistaken, next year a special Kroma will be developed in cooperation with a, if not the major music festival in Sweden. Keep your eyes open!
Cambodia is a least developed country and efforts are needed on many fronts. What Erik and Sophie are doing is contributing to bringing the country in the “right” direction. Learn and read more about their project, or get in contact with them via their blog here on wordpress!