CHHAT HURNG, 24
Weaver at Cambodian Local Crafts
Weaving textiles isn’t the first craft I learnt: my mother taught me how to weave baskets. I used to sell them in my village or at the local market. The problem was that it can be quite difficult to find the materials for baskets, sometimes we had to go to the mountains to collect them, which could take days.
I had the opportunity to study at a local NGO working to empower women. As a child I did not go to school, so I started taking Khmer classes there. I wanted to take makeup classes but unfortunately there weren’t enough people to form the class. Eventually I studied textile weaving. For the first 6 months, I studied how to weave traditional khmer scarves and I also started to make scarves from home. During the second semester we were taught how to weave other textiles such as blankets and shawls. I love making the scarves the most, and I often make them for myself! At the beginning it wasn’t easy as the loom requires a lot of concentration and hand and foot coordination. Now I can weave a scarf in only one day! However the longest part of the process is actually preparing the loom, which can take up to 4 days. At least I can easily find the raw materials at the market.
I joined AHA very recently in March 2018. Lina, one of the owners of Cambodian local crafts, visited the women’s NGO I was studying at and invited me to join her staff. I love working here, I get a better pay and I enjoy teaching in the workshops. One day I would like to start my own scarf weaving business in my home village.