Globalteer has opened its very own NGO gift shop right inside its volunteer hostel in the Cambodian town of Siem Reap. Now volunteers at the hostel can buy all their souvenirs and gifts without having to leave the comfort of their home-from-home, and be safe in the knowledge that their money is going to a good cause.
The “shop” is stocked with a wide range of crafts and merchandise from the many projects that Globalteer works with in and around Siem Reap, with 100% of all proceeds going straight back to the projects.
Many NGOs are producing great merchandise to help their fundraising efforts, and more importantly they are working with local communities on vocational training, often producing really beautiful items that make perfect souvenirs for visitors to Cambodia.
However, it is notoriously difficult finding an effective “route to market” with many retailers charging prohibitive commissions that leave the NGOs with very little money at the end of the deal.
One NGO has trained villagers in weaving hemp, water hyacinth fibres and old plastic bags into both useful and decorative items such as purses, bracelets, water bottle holders a and shoulder bags. Using fibres like water hyacinth has a dual benefit as it grows everywhere in Cambodia to the point of being a pest.
Other items on sale include a range of greetings cards featuring children’s photography and paintings, a cook book of mouth-watering Cambodian specialities, and a superb 250 page large format photo book showcasing the work of former street children.
T-Shirts, shopping bags, baseball caps and even tea towels are also on offer, as well as some exquisite traditional wooden sculptures, hand carved by a land-mine victim who works at one of the projects.
Simon Hare, Globalteer’s marketing co-ordinator who is based in Siem Reap said,
“We had the idea of helping the projects to sell their amazing products, so we tested it with a table top sale in the hostel foyer. Despite the hostel only being half full, it worked really well and we sold nearly $150 worth of goods in one afternoon. So we decided to go ahead and launch the idea in all its glory and bought a display cabinet for the hostel so volunteers can shop whenever they like.”
If you would like to volunteer with us in Cambodia and get your hands on some of these unique gifts, then please visit our Cambodia children’s project page.