Maybank Women Eco-Weavers
Maybank Women Eco-Weavers supports women weavers from poor and marginalised communities with the aim of reviving and sustaining traditional weaving practices in ASEAN countries. The ancient art of textile weaving cuts across borders of the 10 member nations of ASEAN. These textiles can be works of art that represent the heritage of their respective countries, yet the women weavers who sustain the traditional crafts often struggle to survive in modern times. The women in this programme receive access to training, capacity-building and microfinance, which helps them and their families to become economically independent. The Maybank Women Eco-Weavers programme is currently active in Indonesia and Cambodia. It was expanded to Laos in 2018. The programme operates in partnership with local organisations to provide the ecosystems for sustained development of the regions’ textile weaving culture. The programme is endorsed and supported by the ASEAN Foundation, which shares our mission to preserve ASEAN cultural heritage and contribute towards building the ASEAN identity. Given that each country faces different challenges, the programme has been tailored to fit in the local context and address local issues. In Cambodia, a silk weaving training centre was built to provide skills training and employment opportunities for women. In Indonesia, however, the approach has been focused on providing micro-financing to women weavers. We also engage with international designers to showcase the participants’ products.
The Takeo province has long been the hub for traditional silk weaving in Cambodia. The Maybank Silk Weaving training Centre in Takeo works to promote traditional Cambodian textiles globally in a sustainable manner while creating business opportunities for underprivileged women. The training centre partnering Color Silk Foundation is Cambodia’s first formal silk weaving training centre. The centre is located about 65 kilometres away from Phnom Penh. Trainees are given weaving training, capacity building and production-related financial incentives as well as the tools to help them and their families become economically independent. Maybank also supports a sericulture programme to plant mulberry trees which are essential for silk thread production. To date, The Maybank Silk Weaving Training Centre has trained 125 new weavers. Many of the graduate weavers are earning between USD150 to USD250 a month. To date there are more than 280 farmers planting more than 41,000 mulberry trees. The mulberry farmers are currently earning between USD8 to USD35 for each harvest.
In Indonesia, the Maybank Women Eco-Weavers Programme adopted a microfinancing approach to help weavers buy the raw materials they need. Our programme partner works with some 400 women in four weaving learning centres located in East Lombok, Central Lombok (West Nusa Tenggara), Sawah Luntoh and Tanah Datar (West Sumatera). The Maybank Women Eco-Weavers was featured and showcased at the ASEAN 50th Anniversary Celebration in 2017 in Jakarta. The objectives of the programme are in line with the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint 2025 which seeks to promote high quality of life, equitable access to opportunities, protection of human rights and, at the same time, to preserve the arts and culture of the ASEAN Region.
In Laos, we partner Mulberries, an organization founded by Madam Kommaly Chanthavong, a recipient of the 2015 Ramon Magsaysay award. Mulberries currently supports the weaving community of Laos in a province called Xiang Khuoang some 400 kilometres northeast of Vientiane. A Memorandum of Agreement with Lao Sericulture Company Ltd (Mulberries) was signed mid 2017 subsequently the Maybank Women Eco-Weavers programme for Laos was officially launched in January 2018. In Laos Maybank Foundation supported training of 30 new weavers and 50 mulberry farmers. Maybank Foundation also built a hostel for the trainees at the farm due to some of the trainees will need to travel for up to 2 days to attend training at the Mulberries’s farm.