CAMACrafts provides sustainable and dignified work that allows Lao and Hmong women to use their traditional skills to support their families. CAMACrafts’ goal is to lead village producers toward self-sufficiency, to promote community development through meaningful work, and to preserve and encourage traditional skills and handicrafts.
CAMACrafts fosters family unity by decreasing rural unemployment and subsequent migration to urban centers. Producers often use the money they earn to send their children to school and to supply medicine and more nutritious food. This income supplements the produce they receive from their farms, which is typically their only means of livelihood.
CAMACrafts’ products are entirely handmade by Lao and Hmong women using traditional patterns and techniques, such as reverse appliqué, cross stitch, embroidery, and batik. The most complicated products can take 7–10 days to stitch. Women can work in their spare time at home, allowing them to continue to care for their children and household needs.
CAMACrafts was established by CAMA Services, a US relief and development organization, in 1990 to support Hmong refugees of the Vietnam War. Since that time, CAMACrafts has worked with over 400 Hmong and Lao people in more than 20 different villages.