This handicraft cooperative began in 1980 and works with Lao weavers and basket makers in lowland villages around Vientiane, the capital city of Laos. Kommaly Chanthavong directs the co-op, and her husband Noulieme manages finances. Craftswomen intersperse weaving with housework and childcare. Once a dying art, weaving skills and traditions are being revived by Phontong, which provides lessons and free raw materials to artisans. The cooperative also helps artisans with wood carving, basket weaving, silk production and cattle raising. Mennonite Central Committee workers have been involved with Phontong since the mid-1980s.
Phontong Handicrafts Cooperative and CAMACRAFTS are joint members of the recently established Lao Handicraft group. CAMACRAFTS, a neighboring handicraft organization of Phontong Handicrafts Cooperative works with Hmong and Lao Handicrafts. Phontong Cooperative is a member of the International Federation for Alternative Trade.
Ten Thousand Villages purchases embroidered wall hangings, scarves, cushion covers, table runners, framed weavings, trays, wooden nativities, stables, stools and carved elephants from Phontong. Ten Thousand Villages has purchased handicrafts from Phontong since 1989.
- Artisan Products