“The best thing about this job is that all the brooms I make fly off the shelves in no time. The more I produce, the more money I earn.”
In the village of Dou, located in Phonthong district, Champasak province, we found Ms. Vongdeuan, a resilient individual with a leg impairment. Despite her mobility challenges, she was able to make a living by producing and selling alcohol and cultivating sugarcane. However, as she reached the age of 40, she experienced a gradual weakening of her physical strength. Combined with the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and her disability, she had to cease sugarcane farming. Relying solely on the income from alcohol sales, which has proved to be insufficient to sustain herself on a daily basis.
Thankfully, the LDPA stepped in with assistance through the EU-funded CiSAC project, aiming to forge new career paths for individuals with disabilities. Together with other beneficiaries, Ms. Vongdeuan underwent training in crafting brooms made from tigergrass. The project provided all the necessary production equipment such as tigergrass, bamboo poles as broom handles, nails, ropes, and so on. Additionally, the project extended its effort to seek out markets for each broom product made by the participants.
After completing the training, Vongdeuan is enthusiastic about making brooms. She shared, “In a single day, I can produce up to 20 broomsticks, each of which can be sold at varying prices. If I sell them to Thai traders who come to collect the brooms directly at my place, I can charge 11 baht per stalk. Selling them to villagers, temples, and hospitals allows me to set the price between 15,000 and 28,000 kip per stalk, depending on the quality.” Vongdeuan further expressed, “The best thing about this job is that all the brooms I make fly off the shelves in no time. The more I produce, the more money I earn.”
Currently, Vongdeuan’s primary source of income comes from her brooms, while she continues to earn a secondary income from brewing alcohol.