Vanna is an artisan partner for Raven + Lily in Cambodia. The interview was translated into Khmer and then edited a bit to remain in the first person. Vanna’s smile lights up the room it was beautifully photographed by Melinda DiMauro on a rooftop in Phonm Penh.
I stopped going to school after grade 10, but I learned to sew shortly after that when I was 19. I found out about this job from a friend who worked here and I’m so glad to have it. I’ve been working here for over a year, and I love my job. For Raven +Lily, I sew the tops that combine jersey and gauze. At my last job, I had to work longer hours for half the income. Also, at previous jobs, the quality of my work didn’t matter. Here, my skills have improved and I pay more attention to detail. All the women I work with are helpful and we teach each other new things. We all work together.
After my husband passed away, it was just my daughter and I at home. Because of my work, I am able to pay university tuition for my daughter to study banking. Thank you to all the women who support us. I am proud of my work and the quality is good. When someone is wearing what I made, I am very happy because that must mean they love it.
-Vanna Mom, 42, seamstress