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ASIA · LaosFrom dependency to a partnership of equals
The director of a cotton business known as “The Ngeum cotton group,” Nuansy (44) has radically changed the lives of the women of her village.
Although encountering serious problems taking care of her small children when her husband had to leave her region to work, Nuansy decided she wanted to also do something for the women of her village. Despite the fact that her basic training was in the field of medicine, she had the courage to branch out into a field that was totally new to her: cotton cloth production. She discovered the existence of an important market niche for a special kind of Asian brown cotton, the sales of which would enable women to fight poverty. Summoning her creativity and her modest capital, she invested in the creation of a small cotton factory employing 50 women.
11 young women undertook special four-month training in the capital, Vientiane, to learn the various weaving techniques and methods. Thanks to this training, the women concerned could produce high quality products using new designs. The opinions and decisions of these women then began to be taken into consideration.
As a result of this new village industry, the economy of North Laos has become a little less dependant on the more industrialized productions of Thailand, which represented a real danger for the culture and the identity of the Laos weavers. The sales of cotton products have restored the pride of the men and women of the village who now work as equal and independent partners with their Thai neighbour.
Nuansy represents a model of creativity for the young people of her region and enjoys the highest reputation.