Adorable knitted sun and moon bears handcrafted by women from underprivileged communities are now available for purchase at NagaWorld, as part of their ‘Bears of Hope’ initiative. Sales of these delightful, one-of-a-kind gifts will help raise funds for the women, as well as for single mothers struggling to support their families during the COVID-19 pandemic. Proceeds will also contribute towards wildlife conservation efforts in Cambodia.
NagaWorld are collaborating on this initiative with social enterprise Cambodia Knits, who have been working with around 200 marginalised women in and around Phnom Penh since 2009. The women are trained to produce beautiful, high quality and unique products, which provides them with a fair and flexible employment opportunity.
The knitted sun bears ($16) and the larger moon bears ($23) can be purchased daily at the Souvenir Store (Level 1, NagaWorld1). Proceeds will be channeled back to Cambodia Knits to help generate much-needed income for the craftswomen as well as supporting the enterprise’s operational expenses and future training courses. Single mothers in underprivileged communities struggling to cope with financial difficulties caused by the COVID-19 outbreak will also receive assistance from the proceeds.
Additionally, $1 from every bear sold will be donated to Free the Bears Cambodia, a not-for-profit Australian charitable wildlife-protection organisation which runs the Cambodian Bear Sanctuary, the world’s largest sanctuary for sun bears. Located inside the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre at Takeo province, the sanctuary gives shelter, food and daily care to over 120 bears rescued from the illegal wildlife trade.
“Through our ‘Bears of Hope’ programme, NagaWorld aims to empower women from marginalised communities as well as promote sustainable, craft-based livelihoods in the country,” said NagaWorld Managing Director Mr. Pern Chen. “Our collaboration with Cambodia Knits is just one of the many initiatives we have taken up, and is part and parcel of NagaWorld’s continued commitment towards supporting communities in a sustainable manner, as well as nation building of the Kingdom.
“These unique and individually knitted bears are lovingly put together and a heartfelt souvenir for our guests to bring home. You could say that by their generous gesture, they too become involved in helping support families most in need, especially in these challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a wonderful way to help our precious wildlife too, with proceeds also raising much-needed funding for the protection and conservation of Cambodian sun and moon bears in their natural habitat,” added Mr. Chen.
Cambodia Knits founder, Ms. Monika Nowaczyk, said, “We believe women have the power to break the inter-generational cycles of poverty in their communities. Given economic opportunities, women invest their income into the health, education and the futures of their families.”
NagaWorld’s corporate social responsibility arm, NagaWorld Kind Hearts, conducts a range of ongoing Community Engagement initiatives including the ‘Teen Challenge Cambodia’ project, which helps at-risk youths from marginalised groups rebuild their lives through vocational training and counselling. The ‘[email protected]’ programme, meanwhile, supports underprivileged students complete their high school education.
NagaWorld Kind Hearts made a series of contributions last year totalling more than $118,000 in value to help impoverished communities deal with the economic impact and restrictions imposed by COVID-19, as well as assist with government efforts to curb its spread. Donations include a Nucleic Acid Extraction System, testing kits and laptops to the Ministry of Health, and personal protective equipment to other public institutions. A $55,000 donation was also made to Phnom Penh City Hall to purchase around 100 tonnes of rice for families most affected by the pandemic.