Phontong Handicrafts Cooperative
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. Ten Thousand Villages has purchased handicrafts from Phontong since 1989.