MANAVA, Siem Reap,, Cambodia

MANAVA was founded in 2016 and is a social enterprise that supports rural Cambodian artisan women to develop a stable, fair and sustainable income. The founder Ka-Lai Chan, is a Dutch designer with Asian roots, and co-founder Baraing Tho is a local Khmer man with a background working with several creative NGO’s within Cambodia. Together Ka-Lai and Baraing are currently working closely with 24 female artisans, all of whom are living in Kroh Bei Riel village located just 10 km outside of Siem Reap. The artisan women develop high quality rattan products such as baskets, bags, lamps, and small furniture, being carefully trained and mentored by Ka-Lai. Ka-Lai utilizes her professional and educational design background to mentor the artisan women in order to empower their creativity and knowledge, thus sharing this ancient craft by adapting it to the demands of the modern market. This unique weaving style is exclusive to Korea Bei Riel village and maintained in order to preserve an important part of Cambodia’s legacy. MANAVA translates Sanskrit to humankind and intends to bring people closer to each other by introducing Cambodia’s culture and ancient crafts to consumers all over the world for a more ethical and sustainable world.

Since the female artisans joined MANAVA, their average monthly wage had a significant increase of more than 100%. Furthermore, MANAVA empowers the creativity of the artisans by offering high quality level training and promoting personal development. The social enterprise is also conducting a life skill program in partnership with the Women’s Resource Centre NGO, which has trainings such as financial management, family planning, healthcare, domestic violence, positive parenting, women’s right and English lessons.

Manava came highly recommended by several of our other partners in Siem Reap. They are run by a small team of 2 people and don’t have any formal structure, tools or procedures in place, but they are very much open to learn.


For more information please visit their website.