Reviving the Kingdom’s arts and crafts

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Twenty five years since the start of the company, Artisans Angkor has continued to showcase tremendous interest in giving back to society and helping to build lives for the better.

With over 48 workshops operating in 12 sites located in Siem Reap province, the company provides employment to over 1,100 people, including about 800 artisans.

“CSR is in our DNA, the company was created as an NGO initially to find jobs for those in need in Siem Reap and to revive traditional art craft jobs,” says Artisans Angkor chief executive officer Pierre-André Romano, further adding that over the years, the target has still remained the same although we became registered social company.

Artisans Angkor has gotten involved in several corporate social responsibility programs over the years, primarily in the area of the people empowerment but also in reviving Khmer traditional culture as well as environment. For example about the latter, the company worked on setting up an innovative waste water treatment system to reduce its ecological footprint. Located in the Angkor Silk Farm site near Siem Reap, the treatment system collects waste water from three different sources from the silk washing, silk dyeing as well as the Ikat dyeing. The system then filters the waste water, producing completely clear water overflow as a result, and into a lagoon basin.

The company also prides itself as an employer who has taken care of its staff’s rights as well as needs. Out of the 12 sites, seven are already equipped with a nursery, and further investments are being poured into the nurseries to further develop them in order to provide them with better equipment as well as hiring professional nurses.

The latest CSR project is to help women entrepreneur in their community to create microbusiness to produce small products parts that are currently outsourced. They partnered with SHE Investment who will provide business training while Artisans Angkor will train on the technical side and microfinance the equipments.

Mr Romano also says that the journey is not without challenges. With rampant competitions and imitations, he says the company is working hard to relay stories of the craft and journey of their staff on why they are more expensive than the imitations.

“More and more customers are happier to know they have supported the local economy and it’s showing even more these days,” observes Mr Romano.

Artisans Angkor is also involved in the well-being of children in provinces and has conducted surveys to understand the impact on social ladders. With the first generation of the company’s staff having started 20 years ago, Mr Romano wants to ensure the next generation gets to soar higher.

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