Here We go Again

We are heading off to Laos for the opening of the 3rd Semester of the Women’s Business Textile Arts School… from 2nd September to the end of December.

Fortunately the school has recovered from the effects of big flood which hit Muang Nan township in late July and damaged the looms and some of the equipment in the school. Its all cleaned up with the looms now in working order again.

There are now 8 new students ready to start on this coming Monday…plus the four original teachers. We’re looking forward to meeting them all in a few days time.

We are presently working on ways for these new students, plus the 16 previous students to make use of their newly acquired talents in weaving and embroidery…by channelling it all into something productive and beneficial to them. There’s quite a lot happening.

We’ve mentioned the offer from the Provincial Government of a piece of land in the district centre of Muang Nan… if we make a success of the first couple of years…which so far is happening.

We want to follow up on this offer and perhaps apply a bit of moral pressure to make this a firmer commitment.

We also have Emma Sommerville’s Master’s Thesis designs for a permanent, purpose-built Textile Arts School which we’re hoping to build on the government’s suggested site. We have the designs and drawings with us to show the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.

We are also now working with Kristina Sondstrum, who is moving her former fabric design workshop and studio from 

Melbourne to Byron Bay to work with textile designer Egle Petrauskaite.

(Kristina and Egle both wearing apparel made from textiles created at the Textile Arts School)

They have plans to make use of the fabrics and materials being produced by the women in Laos… both past and present students... to create apparel, accessories and decorative items that could be tailor-made for sale here in Australia. Kristina will be visiting Laos during October to see how the school works, meeting with the teachers and students and talking with them about the future possibilities of a Women’s Cooperative in producing a continuing flow of saleable products.

Also, during our planned stay of a couple of months in Laos, we will be seeking legal advice on what will be involved in setting up such a Women’s Cooperative venture (comprising the teachers, as well as former and present students) which could take over, and operate the school and its productions as their own business.

Finally, to more mundane, but immediate needs, we are hoping to inspire your generosity once more to help get us …and the school…through to the end of the year, when hopefully we’ll see some action from the Government on the land grant. You have funded the school for more than a full year to produce incredible and beautiful results…THANK YOU!!…as well as empowering 16 village women, aged from their late teens and mid-twenties up to 45, to become more independent, creative and  and productive members of their society, with a new sense of self-worth and new-found abilities to earn an income for their families that they did not have prior to attending the school. This is a huge achievement. And we feel as if we’re on the cusp of something even more exciting.

We’ve got some funds in the kitty, but not enough to see us through this 4-month semester (that is September…through to the end of December)…with the 8 new students. It costs us around A$3,000 a month, over a 4-month semester, to keep the school running. Thirteen people: 4 teachers, 8 students and Chanthy, the Project Manager, who is the glue that keeps it altogether, are covered by this amount. The rent is paid right through to July of next year, but we’re still going to need some help to get through this semester.

Xxx Trish & Iain

Over to you.

The Road To NaLin fund



BSB 062-580




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