How can carpet save a community? Lindsey Ritchie can tell you how.
In Cambodia, financially disadvantage mothers’ children are at risk of being pulled into child labor or human trafficking. Lindsey, CEO of Carpets for Communities, manages a social enterprise that found a way to empower these women by means of carpet weaving.
The old adage says, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Likewise, the women in Cambodia are taught the skill of carpet weaving, so their families can become financially stable and the children can return to school. In Ritchie’s words, “I strongly believe that education is the key to ensuring significant and sustainable change in developing communities.”
The company, based in Australia, uses a two-stage approach. First, the women are trained to make handmade carpets from t-shirts and recycled hessian bags. This then produces enough income, so mothers can start a maintainable micro-business. Meanwhile, Carpets for Communities provides the proper training and guidance to encourage a smooth transition.
Almost immediately, within 48 hours, children return to school after the women enter the program. Ritchie says this is done in order to “ensure immediate intervention, and to avoid creating dependency.” The intent is to empower the women, so they can in the end independently provide for their family, to permanently end the cycle of poverty for them and their children.
Thankful for what Lindsey is doing? Leave a comment below to let her know how you believe she is making a difference in this world.