In Srwoch's flip-flops

Soieries du Mékong has set itself a social mission: to promote the empowerment of women in rural areas of North West Cambodia by training them in silk weaving and offering them sustainable work, which enhances their know-how. Therefore, the majority of artisans who work to make your scarves are women. To understand how our weavers find their balance between their professional and personal lives, we went to meet one of them: Srwoch Chhorvorn. A bit evocative, its name means radiance and sharpness in Khmer. Indeed, thanks to the controlled and perfect coordination of her movements, she plays with the threads and creates silky and radiant fabrics under her delicate hands...

Photo de Swroch, notre tisserande près de nos ateliers de village

             The air is cool and humid this morning as we drive to our meeting with Srwoch Chhorvorn. Mother of two children, a twelve-year-old boy and a two-year-old girl, she has been a weaver at Soieries du Mékong for five years already. After a year of training in our workshop, Soieries du Mékong installed a winding machine and a large loom in her home to give her the opportunity to be surrounded by her family during her working hours. Sitting around the wooden table in her kitchen, she offers us tea. Through her daily life, she reveals to us how she organizes herself to be both a good mother and to be able to accomplish her weaving tasks perfectly.

5 a.m.…the sun rises and so does she.

After a few minutes to emerge from her morning haze, she sits down in front of her winder. This tool will allow him to transform the skeins of silk into bobbins, small spools of all colors which will be used to make the weave of the scarf.

7 a.m.: It’s already hot!

She continues her daily ritual and takes a shower. Then, she retires to the kitchen and begins to prepare the fish and vegetables which she will then grill.

“Are you having breakfast with your family? » She confides to us with a smile “Yes, when my son is not late, which happens to him a little too often!”. Then everyone goes about their business. Her son walks to school and her husband, a farmer, goes to one of the many cassava fields in Banteay Chmar.

8 a.m.… The weaving begins

After washing the dishes, around 8 a.m., she starts weaving. Weaving is a work of patience and precision. “I have to be in good shape, because a second of loss of concentration can make me do stupid things, and I then lose a lot of time catching up.” Unlike other weavers who find themselves in our village workshop every day, she chose to work from home to take care of her little daughter, already very energetic for her age. Weaving requires a lot of concentration, so she punctuates her morning with breaks during which she plays with her little daughter. The rest of the time, she occupies it with games or invites her neighbors' children so that she has playmates.

Food cooked in the morning is available all day, so that each person in the family can help themselves at any time. Her son comes home from school for lunch at 11 a.m. while her husband has a rather random schedule. He sometimes doesn't come back and has lunch with his colleagues next to the fields to save time. 

In the afternoon, his working hours vary from one day to the next. Unlike textile factories, Soieries du Mékong does not impose a fixed schedule. When we hand over a loom to a weaver, we instead set weekly “production targets” with her, thus allowing her to decide for herself how to organize her time. When it's too hot or she has shopping to do, she sometimes doesn't weave so she can go to the market or rest.

At 5 p.m., Pon Vichika, his son, returns from school.

They prepare the evening meal together, usually fried eggs and soup in which she uses the leftovers from the fish cooked in the morning. “And so afterwards, we have dinner together and everyone talks about their day. It’s a moment that I like and still very much alive.”

At 7 p.m., she goes to put the children to bed, after singing at least two songs to her daughter who never tires of listening to the same ones. She and her husband then take advantage of the calm of the house to watch Thai films. Without hesitation, his favorite films are those that mix romantic comedy and violent fights! But she rarely finishes the films, falling asleep long before on a mattress that serves as a sofa.

At the end of our meeting, when we asked her about her motivation for working at Soieries du Mékong, she simply replied: “They give me a job, social security, and my independence.” 

Srwoch en plein tissage d'un foulard Soieries du Mékong

We thank her for telling us about her daily life. For us, it is also the vision of a strong and touching woman who magnificently manages to juggle family and work.

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