On November 24, New Day members Chris and Liza Green, Shannon Rogers, Georgie Kirkaldie and Amanda Clarke from Linklaters – our co-funders – visited Daughters in Phnom Penh. Our visit gave us a chance to review our first grant (you can read the report here: New Day. Daughters Report 2011) as well as discuss the details of our second grant that was disbursed in November (you can read the grant proposal here: Daughters New Day proposal 2011). Our grant covered all the expenses listed except for the silk screening business and the move to new premises as this is still pending.
A poster made by the Daughters clients on the wall of the Sewing Room
You can read about our visit in this post from New Day member Shannon Rogers:
Daughters had a very busy year working on the quality and efficiency of their Fair Trade Businesses. They are growing and have space for additional clients.
The Cafe: We had an opportunity to have lunch in the Cafe over the shop. There was a marked improvement in the service and food quality. Business has been doing well.
The Spa: This has also been much busier than expected. Initially the jewelry business was moved over to the Shop space in order to train the women in both Spa services and Jewelry making – making better use of their time. However, the Spa has been so busy that there has been little time for Jewelry making.
The Jewelry Business: To address the demand, additional clients were moved over to the Shop workspace to focus on the Jewelry. It was determined that the Jewelry line is the biggest seller in the store, so Daughters is working to capitalize on that.
The Daycare: There are over 20 young children in the daycare now, many of which are babies. The clients working in the Sewing Room also rotate through the daycare, giving them a chance to spend time with the children and learn parenting skills. Daughters has a relationship with several NGO schools for placement of all the school aged children of clients.
The Men’s Program: Daughters started a program to work with husband’s of clients who are abusive. The Social Workers have been going to the clients homes and working with the men on behavioral management techniques. Behavioral improvements have been seen and the Social Workers would like to continue building on this program.
The Woodworking Program: A new line of wood carvings has been designed and the clients in the Sons program are being trained in woodworking skills. They are also responsible for all the coconut buttons and coconut pieces used in the clothing and jewelry lines.
The Sewing Room: Most of the New Day Grant in 2011 went to the Sewing Room. Training courses were provided to 18 clients and 4 staff, covering pattern cutting, production management, and production techniques. Socheata, the Sewing Room Manager, stated that the training have dramatically improved the efficiency in the sewing room and the quality of the products. She also noted that the clients were taking much greater pride in their work – stating that they feel like they are actually part of a real business, not just an NGO. The trainings, new equipment purchased with help from New Day, and a new inventory system has really streamlined the business. They are selling through their online catalog and their shop.
Based on such positive feedback on the training programs both from a business perspective and a psychological perspective, we discussed the possibility of further trainings. Ruth will investigate if there are more advance modules. Also, the clients who participated in the trainings were literate. So we discussed ways in which illiterate clients could participate in the future, whether GIPC has a program, or if a buddy system or a pre-training program could work, so that all clients could benefit from the program.
A big challenge discussed for the Sewing Room is the difficulty in sourcing fabric. Based on the amount purchased, they tend to buy scraps and have a difficult time finding the same fabric again. This can be a challenge for larger orders and/or managing catalog buyers expectations.
An overall challenge right now is the limitations and poor physical state of the existing workshop. Ruth is actively looking for a new space in Phnom Penh. They are hoping to move in the near future and this will increase their expenses.
Daughters is really utilizing volunteers to develop their designs, implement an inventory system, run the daycare, etc. We met a group of committed volunteers, staff, and clients.