Artisan Stories

 

Rajana aims to give young, underprivileged Cambodian people the opportunity to be trained in the production and marketing of contemporary craft. Rajana is committed to the personal development of our workers as individuals in an economic, social, and spiritual sense. Rajana provides employment with fair wages and a safe work environment where people have the opportunity for professional development.

 

Ven Sovann, Carpenter/Jeweler

Gender: Male, Age: 32

Born in a refugee camp after the Khmer Rouge era, Ven Sovann has struggled to find a stable income for most of his life. Prior to working at Rajana, difficult financial circumstances forced him to travel throughout the Cambodian provinces to find work. His carpentry experience helped him get a job at Rajana, where he has remained a faithful employee for 12 years. Since then, he has gained skills in not only woodworking, but also jewelry making, coconut shell carving, and silk painting.

 

Pan Sreymom, Cleaner / Card maker / Ceramicist

Gender: Female, Age: 20

As a teenager, Pan Sreymom needed to support her family, since both of her parents are blind. She began working in construction. “It was very difficult because it was away from my house, hard work, and low income,” she says.” In 2007, Sreymom was able to get a job at Rajana, where she now works as a cleaner, card maker, and ceramicist. Now married with a baby, Sreymom is thankful for the proper income and the opportunity to learn new skills.

Heang Sopheanith, Jeweler

Gender: Male, Age: 34

From: Battambang province

Net grew  up in a refugee camp on the border of Thailand and later moved to Battambang province, in northwestern Cambodia. In Battambang he went to school but had to quit when his mother died in order to find work to support himself. He then decided to move to Phnom Penh where he began to work at the Rajana Association soon becoming a silversmith. Today Net is the team leader of the workshop, teaching the artisans who have less experience. His dream is to someday have his own silversmith business.

SOK SOPHEAK, Jeweler

Age: 42 years old

From: Kandal province

He works part time at Rajana, since he combines his job and taking care of his children. He has worked at Rajana since 1999 and learned to become a silversmith with the help of the Rajana Association.

He would like to learn more about artisanal jewelry, combining more materials and improving the design crafting.

SOM PISETH, Jeweler

Age: 27 years old

From: Kandal province

Piseth is one of the youngest artisans. Before arriving to Rajana in 2012, he was a student at Il Nodo where after 2 years he learned to become a silversmith. He heard about Il Nodo through a family member and decided to send his application.

He would like to improve his ability in silver smith and wants to save money so that someday he can begin his own family. He likes to design his own pieces and dreams someday to make his own jewelry.

THORN RAKSMEY, Jeweler

Age: 29 years old

From: Phnom Penh province

Raksmey stopped school at grade 8 due to lack of money. He worked in construction for 4 months under very difficult and hard conditions. So he decided to took another job cleaning and ironing clothes. In 2003, he heard about the Rajana Association and soon began to visit them to obtain training as an artisan. Today Raksmey is a skilled artisan and knows how to work with platinum and landmine materials. In the future he would like to have his own family business.

Prak Vichra, Tailor

Living as a single mother is difficult in any culture. Prak Vichra was widowed after just two years of marriage when her husband died in a traffic accident. With one daughter to support, Vichra began working as a tailor out of her home, but business was sporadic and her income was undependable. In 2008, she began working at Rajana where her income is not only steady, but also more than double the amount she made at home. She can now support herself and her daughter with the peace of mind that comes with a monthly paycheck. She enjoys her work sewing clothes, and especially likes working with new styles.

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Rajana aims to give young, underprivileged Cambodian people the opportunity to be trained in the production and marketing of contemporary craft. Rajana is committed to the personal development of our workers as individuals in an economic, social, and spiritual sense. Rajana provides employment with fair wages and a safe work environment where people have the opportunity for professional development.

Pan Sreymom, Cleaner / Card maker / Ceramicist

Gender: Female, Age: 20

As a teenager, Pan Sreymom needed to support her family, since both of her parents are blind. She began working in construction. “It was very difficult because it was away from my house, hard work, and low income,” she says.” In 2007, Sreymom was able to get a job at Rajana, where she now works as a cleaner, card maker, and ceramicist. Now married with a baby, Sreymom is thankful for the proper income and the opportunity to learn new skills.

Net grew  up in a refugee camp on the border of Thailand and later moved to Battambang province, in northwestern Cambodia. In Battambang he went to school but had to quit when his mother died in order to find work to support himself. He then decided to move to Phnom Penh where he began to work at the Rajana Association soon becoming a silversmith. Today Net is the team leader of the workshop, teaching the artisans who have less experience. His dream is to someday have his own silversmith business.

SOK SOPHEAK, Jeweler

Age: 42 years old

From: Kandal province

He works part time at Rajana, since he combines his job and taking care of his children. He has worked at Rajana since 1999 and learned to become a silversmith with the help of the Rajana Association.

He would like to learn more about artisanal jewelry, combining more materials and improving the design crafting.

Piseth is one of the youngest artisans. Before arriving to Rajana in 2012, he was a student at Il Nodo where after 2 years he learned to become a silversmith. He heard about Il Nodo through a family member and decided to send his application.

THORN RAKSMEY, Jeweler

Age: 29 years old

From: Phnom Penh province

Raksmey stopped school at grade 8 due to lack of money. He worked in construction for 4 months under very difficult and hard conditions. So he decided to took another job cleaning and ironing clothes. In 2003, he heard about the Rajana Association and soon began to visit them to obtain training as an artisan. Today Raksmey is a skilled artisan and knows how to work with platinum and landmine materials. In the future he would like to have his own family business.

Living as a single mother is difficult in any culture. Prak Vichra was widowed after just two years of marriage when her husband died in a traffic accident. With one daughter to support, Vichra began working as a tailor out of her home, but business was sporadic and her income was undependable. In 2008, she began working at Rajana where her income is not only steady, but also more than double the amount she made at home. She can now support herself and her daughter with the peace of mind that comes with a monthly paycheck. She enjoys her work sewing clothes, and especially likes working with new styles.