Project supports ethnic minority women in traditional weaving villages

A series of meaningful activities are being implemented by young people under the Empower Women Asia (EWA) project to support ethnic minority women in traditional weaving villages to improve their skills, contributing to creating jobs and promoting and preserving the handicraft in a sustainable way.

The project contributes to promoting and preserving the traditional handicrafts of ethnic minorities, as well as creating job opportunities for upland women.
The project contributes to promoting and preserving the traditional handicrafts of ethnic minorities, as well as creating job opportunities for upland women.

Officially launched in May 2019 with the approval of the People's Committee of Hoa Binh province and under the auspices of Keep It Beautiful Vietnam (KIBV), the EWA project aims to support ethnic minority women in traditional Vietnamese weaving villages improve their skills, awareness and understanding in the production of sustainable fabric products, thereby enhancing competitiveness and income opportunities.

The project has carried out various meaningful activities, such as organising skills improvement classes for Thai ethnic women in Chieng Chau commune, Mai Chau, Hoa Binh; workshops on traditional weaving held monthly with the participation of domestic and foreign volunteers and tourists; and contests to spread the reputation of the sustainable products of Vietnamese craft villages.

In addition to financial support and equipping them with the necessary materials for production, the project also supports ethnic minority women in Hoa Binh improving their weaving skills.

In 2020, amid the difficulties caused by COVID-19, the EWA successfully organised a workshop in Mai Chau for project members. In particular, from August to November 2020, the project cooperated with the Vietnam Association of Craft Villages to successfully organise a contest searching for creative ideas for sustainable craft villages in 2020, attracting hundreds of contestants from startups, businesses and artisans.

Continuing with the successes of previous activities, amidst the challenges of the global pandemic, the EWA’s 2021 activities feature a series of meaningful programmes, including the fundraising "Weaving dreams by the loom" running throughout May in the form of promoting products made by ethnic minority women directly to the consumers, resulting in a fund to support them immediately with in-kind grants and types of equipment used in production. The event was held on both online and offline platforms, attracting the attention of around 30,000 people nationwide.

The event will be followed by an EWA field trip to give the fund to the women, scheduled in July 2021 and combined with an opportunity for young volunteers to experience cultural values and the cradle to cradle process of the making of hand weaving products.

Other programmes including workshops, training classes and seminars will also be on the agenda once the pandemic situation improves.

Foreign visitors participating in the production processes of self-weaving, natural dyeing and hand-embroidery in an EWA workshop about Vietnam's traditional weaving.

The EWA has deployed an online contest in an effort to spread their message about the national pride of Vietnamese women in general and that of minorities in particular, under a video competition named "Vietnamese Women and their crafts” from May through July 2021, with the aim of honouring the beauty of Vietnamese women, as well as bringing lively images of Vietnam’s craft villages to both domestic and international audiences.

The project has also worked in promoting products from ethnic minorities to the Vietnamese and international markets with various activities such as collaborative programmes with local fashion brands, designers, celebrities.

Textile products of Vietnam's ethnic minority women have been introduced and displayed at various domestic and international events, attracting the public's attention, helping raise awareness on the traditional and sustainable products of Vietnam.

The EWA aims to create a closed sustainable supply chain in traditional Vietnamese textile villages, and through promoting the value of sustainable handicraft products to the public it will contribute to preserving and developing Vietnamese cultural values and traditions.

This is the convergence of fabric and fashion products with a sustainable value, which have both environmental and social impacts through limiting environmental pollution and creating job opportunities for local ethnic women in Vietnamese textile villages.

Photo: Empower Women Asia