The story began with the quest of the Butterfly Pea Hotel to become more socially responsible and eco-friendly.
Upon discovering all-natural products weaved out of water hyacinth, we knew that must promote and use them ourselves, it required no thought or further discussion.
To learn more about these eco-friendly products, we talked with Sror who represents Rokhak, a social enterprise that values Cambodian hand-made products and the global environment.
We discovered that Rokhak creates job opportunities for disadvantaged women from a nearby floating village near the Tonle Sap. Those women were the expert water hyacinth weavers we were looking for.
Of course, we immediately placed orders for waste baskets, coasters, tote bags, placemats and rugs, along with a few other items.
It wasn’t long before Sror asked if we’d like to visit the floating village. He also asked if we could bring along some school materials.
One trip to the village and it all fell into place. We had to do something to support the teachers, students, education, and healthcare of Prek Toal Village.
The thought of starting a foundation was born.
The owner of the Butterfly Pea Hotel, along with Sror from Rokhak and Chhunny from GIE Design, set out on the quest.
Along the way, we have been blessed to be joined by many individuals: Va, Ramona, Dr. Jennifer McMahon, Pichrath, Sothea, and the entire Butterfly Pea team.
We’ve been supported by the Livonia Central School District in Livonia NY and the Wayland-Cohocton School District in Wayland, NY among others.
But, what started eleven months ago is coming full circle today; we received our license as the Butterfly Pea Charitable Foundation.
There’s so much work to be done and we can now focus on rebuilding the Primary School as well as continuing our efforts to provide teacher training development.
In early July, we’ll host fifteen teachers in training from the University of Hong Kong. They’ll be co-teaching with the Prek Toal teachers to further expand our workshop on personal writing.
So much more to come!