December 09 2011
The Laos-based non-profit Participatory Development Training Centre (PADETC) has garnered an impressive roster of donors for its youth development projects. But among the big-hitters (Oxfam and the European Union, to name but two) is niche jewellery label Orijyn.
Founded by former advertising executive Mark Sloneker to open up the international market for craftsmen in Laos, the label features a line of exquisite cuffs, necklaces and earrings made in sterling silver; many styles are stamped with the Dok Phikoun – a design traditionally used by the Lao Royal Court. “Supporting these crafts not only sustains culture but prevents families from having to migrate to the city and enter into low-paid work,” said Sloneker.
Each artisan is paid an above fair-trade wage for their work, and all remaining profit is channelled into PADETC’s education projects, which cover leadership, micro-enterprise and drug-abuse prevention, and reach about 9,000 young people in Vientiane.