Friends International believes that together it is possible to build a world where no child or young person has to live or work on the streets. Your purchase of a Friends product from Warm Heart Online helps to bring this dream closer to reality.
Friends International of Phnom Penh and Siem Riep, Cambodia brings you cool products made by parents so that their kids can go to school. Their micro-manufacturing project is beautiful in its simplicity. Friends teaches the parents of street children to make designer products which Friends then buys and sells through its shops and overseas outlets – including Warm Heart Online and Warm Heart’s retail partners. In return, parents commit to sending their kids to school, not to beg. Friends families receive not only an income from their work, but also participate in a medical insurance program, and receive personal finance and basic education.
The Friends manufacturing project also improves Phnom Penh’s notoriously bad environment. Friends products embody the refrain: reduce, reuse, recycle. Each item is unique and visually exciting – and each is made of recycled materials reclaimed from the trash. Cuttings from sweat shops become exquisite silk purses; surplus zippers become way cool bags; woven folds of magazine pages make eye-popping portfolio covers; zany collages of snack food wrappers decorate “crazy bags” and recycled rice bags become indestructible messenger bags.
The Friends retail products that Warm Heart is proud to bring you represent just one of many innovative solutions Friends has developed to meet the needs of street children and families living in poverty. Friends operates a popular restaurant in Phnom Penh that serves as a training ground for young wait staff and chefs, a welding shop, a fashion design studio, two boutiques and more. In all the years that we have been in the development business, this is one of the most thoughtful organizations we have ever encountered; everything Friends does advances its mission: help children and their families escape poverty through their own, sustainable efforts. No wonder they recently won the Skoll Award, the single most prestigious award given to social entrepreneurs!
Visit Friends International at http://www.friends-international.org/
Learn more about Cambodia at the Warm Heart Bookstore.