CWSG (Cambodia Women’s Support Group) is a group of women in Phnom Penh, skilled in sewing, embroidery and design. The women in the group used to be a part of a program at Nyemo, which was an NGO that worked to support marginalized women with vocational training and other social initiatives, but when Nyemo closed in 2014 due to lack of funding, the women were left on their own.
The women then reached out to Kanary, who was a former board member at Nyemo and together, they set up CWSG. The purpose of the group is to provide the women with a source of income from selling different kinds of beautiful, handmade products, but the group also has a supportive function for the members, who can seek guidance from each other in all aspects of life. Some of the women are skilled in sewing, while others excel in embroidery and design, and when developing new products to sell, they try to make the best use of the inherent skills of the group.
Except for Yary, who is working full-time at CWSG, most of the women have other employment, and only work part-time for CWSG. Many of the women have received sewing machines from CWSG and are thus able to work from home. This is an important aspect, as it allows for the single moms in the group to generate income, without having to pay for expensive childcare.
I have been working with CWSG from the early beginning of launching Mitzie Mee Shop, and Kanary has become a very good friend of mine. Together with the group, we have spent many hours together, trying to make a design work and laughing until we cried when sometimes, our work produced unexpected results (we will all remember the very first cat sleep mask).
Kanary has a full-time job for an NGO, but she spends all her free time, working for CWSG, creating opportunities for the women, and I am deeply impressed by how selflessly Kanary works, and how passionate she is about making a difference from the women.