Volunteer Teaches New Skills to the Garment Centre

A volunteer from Australia shared her wisdom with the women at the Cambodian Children’s Fund’s garment center. Thanks to Johanna Weiss, the women – always eager to learn new skills – tried their hand in the art of screen printing.

The results were spectacular.

The women in the garment center, all of whom have children enrolled in CCF, have experience making uniforms, bags and other items. Screen printing, which uses a stencil for design, was something new to them. Aspects of this method include screen stretching, wash out procedures, printing techniques and more. They were undeterred by the challenge.

“All groups demonstrated an immediate ease in learning very quickly how to print, often wrestling the squeegee from me in their eagerness to print!” Johanna said. “This quickness to learn, I attribute to their highly tuned visual spatial skills honed through their garment construction work.”

Johanna, a master printer, has experience working in Australian aboriginal communities. Her interest in helping out CCF was timed perfectly, as screen printing was always something that the women wanted to learn but hadn’t had the resources to begin. Three days were spent arranging the work space, which included various tables, exposure areas, stretching screens and more. Johanna stepped in to help and found the specific materials needed from supplies around town.

The women broken into two groups and trained for nearly two hours a day for a week. The images used in the design were based on
Khmer fruits and flowers. Their progress was quick, and the end results were impressive. Now, the women have the basics down and can begin experimenting with more advanced techniques.

“They can apply this craft where needed as part of enhancing the beautiful products already being produced,” Johanna said.

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