Asia & Oceania // Vietnam
Mai Handicrafts was started by two social workers who were concerned about improving the lives of street children and single mothers in Ho Chi Minh City and ethnic minorities in mountain villages. Building on the belief that social development is intricately tied to economic self-reliance, Mai Handicrafts reaches out to artisans in underserved areas providing marketing and training and returning some of the profits from the sales of handcrafts to fund social work projects.
The 300 artisans (80% are women) associated with Mai Handicrafts are earning between US$50 and $70 a month in a country where the average monthly income is US$20-30. Many are able to work from their homes or in small workshops instead of seeking work in Vietnam's factory industries. With an eye for detail, Mai's artisans make pottery, silk scarves & purses, baskets and lacquerware. Their creative use of renewable resources like bamboo, recycled paper, and other natural fibers make their products among our top sellers.
A Future Master These magnificent eggs were made using a technique called “quilling” or paper filigree, where paper is rolled and looped to create colorful, intricate designs. Le Thi Yen of Mai Handicrafts loves the creativity involved with quilling and wants to expand her knowledge to create designs that are even more complex. She hopes to master quilling and continue this work into the future.