Throughout our history, CAMA has had the privilege to work with some very dedicated and self-sacrificing local partners. Today, we would like to honor one of those partners: Mrs. Kommaly Chanthavong from Laos.
Kommaly was recently awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for “her fearless, indomitable spirit to revive and develop the ancient Laotian art of silk weaving, creating livelihoods for thousands of poor, war-displaced Laotians, and thus preserving the dignity of women and her nation’s priceless silken cultural treasure.”¹
The Ramon Magsaysay Award is Asia’s highest honor and is widely regarded as the region’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
CAMA first partnered with Kommaly in 1990 to found CAMACrafts, a handicraft business that provides work to Hmong women in Laos. In 1993, we again partnered to form the Lao Sericulture Company (marketed as Mulberries), which today provides a supplementary income to 3000 villagers across northern Laos through silk production. Samaritan’s Purse of Canada also played a role in getting the Lao Sericulture Company off the ground.
Mulberries was fully nationalized in 2007, and the Chanthavong family has continued to dedicate their time and energy to provide employment to Lao villagers. They have used silk as an avenue to give dignity to Lao women, to make it possible for young people to work in their home villages and thus lessen their risk of being trafficked, and to help villagers provide for their families.
CAMA is honored to work with Kommaly and her family. We ask you to pray that God would continue to bless Kommaly with strong health, wisdom in her endeavors, and an ever-deepening understanding of Truth.
¹ Press Release (July 29, 2015). 2015 Ramon Magsaysay Awardees Announced. Retrieved September 2, 2015.