A pioneering project in the SSE

Soieries du Mekong promotes the empowerment of women in Cambodia by offering them sustainable work, promoting their hand-weaving know-how.

Une entreprise sociale

Approved as a “solidarity company”, Soieries du Mékong also has an innovative structure and governance: Soieries du Mékong is an SAS with variable capital whose majority shareholder is the NGO Enfants du Mékong (clause included in the company's statutes), which thus remains a guarantee that the company maintains the initial philosophy of the project. 

Our action 

Soieries du Mékong's action is focused on women living in poverty in rural areas in Cambodia, because our social enterprise was born from the following observation:

92% of Cambodians living below the national poverty line live in rural areas(1). Women make up the majority of poor people in Cambodia(2). They represent 82% of the workforce working in the informal sector: they are often poorly paid, without recognition or protection.(3).

Among active women, 75% work in the agricultural sector, depending on the seasons, often only a few months per year, and depending on the vagaries of the climate. (4). Soieries du Mékong works to promote the professional integration of women by promoting artisanal know-how. These women become weavers, who can, through their work, better provide for the basic needs of their families.

Our production unit is based in Banteay Chhmar, a very isolated village in the northwest of Cambodia, with no access to water. As for electricity, homes have gradually been equipped since 2014. Former stronghold of the Khmer Rouge, Banteay Chhmar is a poor village, close to the border with Thailand. Many women leave there illegally with the hope of a better life, but often find themselves subjected to the exploitation of textile factories with little regard for labor rights.


Soieries du Mékong was born from this desire to revalorize know-how in rural areas and offer women sustainable work so that families can stay in the areas from which they come. Our action focused on the revaluation and transmission of ancestral know-how in Cambodia: that of weaving silk by hand, on traditional looms.

Concretely, Soieries du Mékong selects young women over 18 years old based on motivation and income criteria.

This is followed by 6 months of training in weaving, then 6 months of practical training. At the same time, the young apprentices take Khmer and mathematics lessons, to give them the basics that they often do not receive.

Once this training cycle is completed, the weavers become independent artisans and work at home, with a loom lent by Soieries du Mékong.

Soieries du Mékong then commits to these artisans to:
- offer work throughout the year
- pay in fair conditions (salary higher than the average salary in the village)
- reimburse 80% of their medical expenses
- provide financial training

Since 2001, more than 90 weavers have been trained and supported by Soieries du Mékong and nearly 70 people now work at Soieries du Mékong Cambodia.

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