AsiaStore is home to some of the most talented and creative designers across all of Asia. Many buyers know of the amazing work done by these designers in their field of craftsmanship, but few know of the amazing work done by these designers to serve the community and the environment. At AsiaStore, we want to show our customers all the great work our designers are doing to help the environment, or those in need.
Among the designers that give back to their communities is Carol Cassidy, who is well known for her hand woven textiles. Did you know, however, that Cassidy’s work goes above and beyond creating beautiful textiles, to working with organizations to help disadvantaged people around the world? Here’s what you need to know!
Cassidy began her charity work in 1982 with the organization CARE, which helps underprivileged people around the world. During her time with CARE, she worked on their Small Scale Industry Project in Lesotho. Her position on this project was a technical advisor to rural women who had husbands working in the mines. In Lesotho, they had mohair goats and the women used the hair of these goats to create yarn. Cassidy’s jobs were to work with the design of the spinning wheel, developing yarn types and styles, and to run the dye house that gave color to the mohair yarn that the women created. The goal of this project was to be able to provide women with a skill that could help them improve their income.
Following her time with CARE, Cassidy went on to become a UN expert to continue to find ways to help traditional artisans use their skills to improve their income. Cassidy also spent a year from 1986-1987 working with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife in Zimbabwe through their CAMPFIRE program. She has spent decades helping and advising traditional artisans and she stated, “All these efforts go towards the goal of preserving valuable, indigenous knowledge.”
For the past two years, Cassidy has been advising a local NGO in Meghalaya, India. The goal of this organization is to help increase the production of Eri silk, preserve rare weaving methods, and find ways to help rural artisans to gain some income from their handspun and natural-dyed products. She also continues to work with Weaves of Cambodia, which she began in 1999. She is still designing and supporting their production and Weaves silk has been sold at AsiaStore since 2000. All of the sales brought in from these designs go towards supporting and sustaining Weaves.
As for her own company, she has employed a generation of professional Lao women weavers. Not only does Cassidy’s company pay professional wages, they also offer paid maternity leave, pension benefits and medical benefits. Her company just celebrated their 25th year in 2015 and is proud to have helped her staff be able to educate their children, improve their health and their standard of living as a whole. A portion of the proceeds made from her designs sold at AsiaStore go towards sustaining this business model of excellence.
On May 21, 2016 from 12:00 pm-3:30 pm, Carol Cassidy will be at AsiaStore showcasing her work at the Carol Cassidy Laotian Textiles event. During this event, Cassidy will also be selling and signing her book Weaving Tradition.