Earlier this year we undertook a two-month trial of our home sewing business program, with the purpose being to provide outstanding sewing students with extra skills and a stable income. Three of our advanced sewing students took part in this trial, each making between two and five different types of products, for 2000riel (50 cents) an hour. At the end of the trial, our Vocational Training Manager, Samen, and our Community Manager, Thai, sought feedback from the students and teachers about how the program could be improved. The only feedback the students had about improving the program was that our orders couldn’t be rushed, and that the products should be collected, at most, every ten days.
After lengthy discussions, Samen, Thai and our Operations Manager, Sally, decided on a format for the program. Firstly, a maximum of two students from each sewing class will be hired to be seamstresses, however, if one seamstress resigns, we can hire another student from the same class. These students will be classified as ‘casual employees’ at Human and Hope Association, and will be required to follow our Code of Conduct and policies and procedures. In return, they will be offered with:
- Participation in the Staff Savings Scheme
- Khmer New Year and Pchum Benh bonuses
- Inclusion in special workshops
- Inclusion in staff outings and rewards
- Ability to borrow funds for a large sewing machine, interest free, with the repayments to be deducted from their monthly salary
Our seamstresses will be paid the equivalent of 2,000riel per hour. They can earn a minimum of $15 a month, and a maximum of $30 a month. If HHA receives a special order, they can earn up to a maximum of $70 a month, including their normal salary. The hourly payment and minimum and maximum salary will be reviewed every six months. When giving feedback, the sewing students said the salary was fair, and they agreed there should be a maximum salary so they are motivated to fix their neighbours clothes, thus they are not completely dependent on HHA and are empowered to make their own income.
Our seamstresses will regularly receive training in new products, so they can rotate the products they make. Special product orders will be collected every ten days, however standard product orders will only be collected once a month, which will also allow the seamstresses to control their salaries more effectively.
We have already hired two seamstresses, Pida and Saney, who participated in the home sewing business trial. Both wished to purchase larger sewing machines, so we organized to sell their current sewing machines, enabling them to pay off their microfinance loans. They now have the same sewing machines which are used in our classes, and are able to make more durable products as a result. In the coming weeks, two students will be hired from our beginner sewing class, with all five students in that class moving onto the advanced program next term, and all five students in our advanced class moving up to our newly created expert sewing class.
Our products are currently being sold at several outlets across Siem Reap, and later this year we will launch an online store. So, if you are in Siem Reap, check out any of the outlets below for our products.
If you were interested in stocking our products or purchasing them at wholesale price, please contact us. All profits are injected back into our education, vocational training and community support projects!