Gaïora enters the 2017 school year with a new high-quality partner: Penh Lenh, an artisan workshop specialized in handcrafted bohemian jewelry and based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Penh Lenh endeavors to employ Cambodian women, who have been marginalized, sexually abused or trafficked, and thus enable them to afford a better life through a sustainable job and also training and education programs.
At the head of Penh Lenh, we met Rachel Dodson, an American girl from Nashville who left her New York fast-paced life in 2013 to travel to Cambodia and never leave again. Rachel studied marketing and business and then went on to become a modeling agent in Tennessee before moving to New York where she was able to quickly evolve and climb the ladder.
Feminist in the soul, Rachel has always been very sensitive to the cause of women and the injustice they suffer on both sides of the globe: exploitation, sexual trafficking and gender inequality. She always knew that she wanted to help but didn´t know exactly how, until the day she moved in Cambodia and decided to become a committed player by offering another destiny to these women.
It is during a trip to Cambodia in 2013 that she decided to change her life and settle in the capital of Cambodia: despite a declining poverty rate (from 45% to 32% between 2004 and 2014), Cambodia is still a very poor country, plagued by corruption and strong inequalities. Rachel put faces and first names on statistics, and found herself, for the first time in her life, in the neglected minority of society.
The idea of ??launching its own brand of jewelry, made BY women FOR women, was offered to her naturally.
The young women's team that surrounds Rachel is welded and complementary: throughout the production line, they work with each other to ensure the quality of the product. A handcrafted Penh Lenh jewel requires minimum 30 minutes of work and can take up to 3 hours of work, depending on the complexity of the design and the raw materials used.
Rachel Dodson (3rd from left) and her team
A work day at the workshop always begins with orders in progress and the division of tasks, established by Rachel and her assistant Srey Mao, while the rest of the team enjoys breakfast. Once the morning meeting is over, everyone joins her workstation and begins manufacturing jewelry, in a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere, with pop music in the background.
Design is handled by Rachel and Srey Mao, inspired by their two American and Cambodian cultures, to create modern, easy-to-wear, and unique jewelry. They always involve the rest of the team in their work in order to have their feelings and inputs before the final decision.
A Penh Lenh employee during her work
In addition to offering stable and fairly paid jobs to her team, Rachel also focuses on offering training programs to her employees: language courses, budgeting skills class, nutrition courses, cooking classes or cultural courses (understanding climate change and adopting everyday ecological gestures) are fueling the daily lives of these women who can now flourish in their work and proudly display their independence.
Rachel is careful to ensure that the working conditions of her employees are the best possible by offering maternity leave, sick leave, paid leave and transportation assistance to those who need it.
Discover PENH LENH´s handcrafted jewelry collection now on our e-shop
Here are few handcrafted produtcs from their collection :
|SAVANNAH Bracelet white / grey||SAVANNAH Bracelet black / blush||SAVANNAH Bracelet turquoise / white|
|LEONA Bracelet Grey||SANDRA Bracelet Turquoise||Handcrafted JADE Necklace Black|