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Handicrafts and herbal products boost rural incomes

Weaving and the manufacture of herbal products are emerging as important avenues for unemployed women in Savannakhet province to supplement their families’ monthly income.
Many people in remote areas lack access to higher education, and supporting them in the manufacture of handicrafts and other products is an important factor in helping them to make a living. This will also help the government achieve its goal of poverty eradication by 2020.

Ms Khamsene Phimmavong.

Savannakhet is a province known for weaving, textiles and clothing and this has become a business that helps many families to have better living standards.
Weaving fabrics and sinh (traditional skirt) and producing herbal shampoos, conditioners, creams and hand lotion are becoming important occupations for the unemployed women of Phonxay village in Kaysone Phomvihane district and Lahanam village in Songkhon district.
The head of a group engaged in weaving and making herbal products, Ms Khamsene Phimmavong, said her group was set up in 2013 as she wanted to help unemployed women find work so they would have some money to pay the monthly expenses of their families and improve their living standards.
Ms Khamsene earlier used to work in rural development with a non-governmental organisation and had the skills and experience needed to help disadvantaged people.
But she did not have any experience in manufacturing herbal products so she went to Thailand to be trained in making items such as shampoo and conditioner.
She said members of her group could invest in weaving fabrics and making herbal products, and the group buys these goods from members and sends them for sale.
Those who do not have funds to invest can help others in the group and get 400,000 kip to 500,000 kip a month.   
“Normally, villagers use their own raw materials to weave fabric, sew clothes and produce herbal products.  This can help some families set up a small business without borrowing money from the bank. Their products are exported to countries such as China, Australia and the United States,” she said.
“In the future, we will look for markets in other countries so that we can export more products made by the group. This will help members to earn even more money,” Ms Khamsene explained.
During the That Luang festival this year, she took many kinds of products made by her group and placed them on sale. “Sales were good and this will help members in the group become more enthusiastic about producing more products to earn more money,” she said.
“All the products made by the group are selling well and we have no problems with our markets,” she added.
Ms Khamsene said her group not only helps provide work for unemployed women, but also helps them to have better living standards. “So this can help the government in improving villagers’ living standards and raise them above poverty.”
She hopes that, in the future, all the products made by the group will have booming sales and people nationwide will come to know of the success of her group.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update November 4 , 2017 )

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