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Lulan Artisans to build weaving cooperatives in Southeast Asia
Sep '08
A unique hybrid for-profit/non-profit social venture led by Charleston-based Lulan Artisans was selected as one of the Top 25 projects for the 2008 American Express Members Project.

Entitled End Human Trafficking: Sustainable Livelihoods, they hope to garner enough votes by cardholders in the next two weeks to fund this initiative.

In many parts of Southeast Asia, women have few options in gaining employment. Thousands are trafficked and lost into prostitution every year.

Lulan Artisans, an expert in micro-enterprise luxury textiles, is ready to expand their successful model to build weaving centers and train 6000+ artisans in Southeast Asia.

This project is focused on economic stability and development by investing in infrastructure, training and development for future weavers.

They will build 50-80 persons weaving centers and provide fiscal support for five years. Each group will have control of the center and act as an affiliate business enterprise.

To build the centers Lulan's partner is Architecture for Humanity, a non-profit organization based in San Francisco that brings professional design, development and construction expertise to communities worldwide.

Architecture for Humanity was recently recognized by the 2008 National Design Awards and profiled on CNN.

The project will use local materials to create inventive, off-the-grid weaving centers and also train the community to build and develop these into thriving facilities. These centers will utilize hybrid solar, rainwater collection and natural ventilation.

Designs will be 'open sourced' for anyone to replicate through Creative Commons licensing on the Open Architecture Network. This way innovation is shared and more communities benefit.

By actively empowering local weavers through a phased ownership plan and providing fair wages, Lulan Artisans also supports their artisans' families with education, housing support, and healthcare.

Lulan fuses contemporary design with centuries-old techniques. By respecting the local holistic approach and using all-natural materials they honor the growth cycles, traditions, and regional specificity of the artisans.

"We will never end human trafficking by only raising awareness. These skilled artisans need to have a strong economic life that does not lead them to make regretful choices. Lulan Artisans isn't talking about this, they are doing it," said Cameron Sinclair, Co-founder of Architecture for Humanity.

"By building financial anchors in these communities we not only respect tradition but represent a new way forward," said Eve Blossom, Founder of Lulan Artisans, "By supporting this project you will help create systemic change for the entire community and allow thousands of local artisans to seize their opportunity of a stable future."

Cameron Sinclair will join Eve Blossom in Charleston on September 22nd to speak on the power of innovative design to improve life. The event is free but space is limited.

Lulan Artisans

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