The event was graced by H.E Dr Kao Kim Hourn, Secretary-General of ASEAN, together with other local representatives from the state
Maybank recently marked the official opening of its second silk weaving training centre in Cambodia, in the Siem Reap province. Located in Banteay Srey district, the new training centre is part of Maybank’s continued regional initiative in providing business opportunities and empowering underprivileged women weavers and mulberry farmers to become financially independent.
The grand opening ceremony was officiated by Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Zamzamzairani Mohd Isa, Chairman of Maybank and Maybank Foundation and His Excellency Dr Kao Kim Hourn, Secretary-General of ASEAN. Among those in attendance included H.E Pen Monimakara, Secretary of State, Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts; H.E. YB. Hj Nasiet Ismael, Member of Siem Reap Provincial Council, Mr Heng Bomakara, Deputy Director General, National Bank of Cambodia; H.E Koung Sorita, Under Secretary of State, Ministry of Women’s Affairs; Dato’ Khairussaleh Ramli, Maybank Group President & Chief Executive Officer; Rath Sophoan, CEO and Country Head of Maybank Cambodia, Maybank’s Board of Directors, Maybank Group’s EXCO members and Shahril Azuar Jimin, Maybank Chief Sustainability Officer.
Seated : Tan Sri Dato' Sri Zamzamzairani Mohd Isa (middle – with green fitted shirt), H.E Dr Kao Kim Hourn (middle - with black blazer), Dato’ Khairussaleh Ramli, Group President & CEO Maybank (blue shirt), H.E Pen Monimakara, Secretary of State, Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts (blue blouse), Mr Heng Bomakara, Deputy Director General, National Bank of Cambodia (blue blazer), H.E Dr Sok Siphanna, member of the Maybank Cambodia Board of Directors (light blue shirt) posing with local representatives from the state and Maybank representatives at the launch of the new silk weaving training centre in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Zamzamzairani Mohd Isa said the second silk weaving training centre in Cambodia represents another milestone for the Maybank Women Eco-Weavers programme in Cambodia which signifies a unified effort to empower Cambodian women to achieve economic independence, financial inclusion as well as to preserve the country’s weaving heritage.
“We recognise that for Maybank to ensure the prosperity and economic security of more women in this region, and subsequently uphold one of Maybank’s sustainability goals which is to improve the lives of 2 million households across ASEAN in 2025, we needed to continue to create a learning environment that is conducive to growth and nurturing talents.”
“The construction of this new centre was completed in 2020 amid a global health crisis and although plans for an official launch were put on hold, that has not deterred us from ensuring that our weavers’ progress were not affected during these challenging times. With the tireless efforts and commitment from our programme partner and founder of Color Silk, Madam Vanntha, this training centre in Siem Reap has already seen 178 weavers graduate from its hall since its completion,” added Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Zamzamzairani.
His Excellency Dr Kao Kim Hourn commended Maybank for its accomplishment of opening the second training centre in Cambodia and shares his hopes for the new building.
“The launch of Maybank Silk Weaving Training Centre in Siem Reap starts another new chapter to the Maybank Women Eco-Weavers programme. I trust the establishment of this centre will generate greater cross-sectoral benefits; promote higher environmental awareness; enhance more micro small-medium enterprises (MSMEs); facilitate women’s further financial empowerment, and more importantly, preserve the traditional arts, skills, and cultural heritage of eco-weaving of Southeast Asia.”
The new centre which initially opened its doors in June 2020 but its official launch was put on hold due to the pandemic, serves as a platform for participants to be skilled with vocational training and entrepreneurship opportunities. It specifically benefits economically disadvantage young women who may be otherwise tempted to seek employment either in the city or abroad, in potentially harsh labour conditions. The course rolls out 25 trainees at a time, over a 5 month training period facilitated by specialists. Upon graduation, the new community of women weavers will bring the weaving looms provided back to their homes and commence production.
Currently, 178 weavers have graduated from the facility and successfully gained financial independence for themselves and their families. A mini gallery located at the back area of the training centre was also initiated, where rows of handwoven products such as garments, fabrics, bags, and pouches are put on display for sale. The weavers are able to gain supplementary income from the sales of these items.
“The work that goes on in the Maybank Silk Weaving Training Centre is not limited to safeguarding the century-old heritage. The programme adopted a circular approach to its textile production by providing aid to the farmers who are planting the Mulberry trees that will support the production of raw silk for our weavers. The farmers are taught the meticulous process of mulberry cultivation and silkworm rearing, and afterwards the products are then marketed directly by our programme partner,” said Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Zamzamzairani.
The new building, inspired by the concentric geometry and proportions of the famed temple, offers an open and spacious learning area with a small garden courtyard in the middle. It is able to fit up to 25 weaving looms and can accommodate up to 25 weavers during their training sessions. The centre has been carefully designed to deliver the most benefit to women weavers in the area by providing a safe space that will enable access to a network of resources such as capacity building training.
Adding to the festivity of the opening ceremony, the event continued with a series of activities from the weavers’ graduation ceremony to recognise the graduates from the previous eight batches. Guests were also treated to a tour of the facility where they were able to explore the confines and witness live weaving demonstrations by the weavers guided by Izlyn Ramli, Head of Group Corporate Affairs Maybank & CEO of Maybank Foundation together with Vanntha Ngorn, founder of Color Silk Cambodia. A mini presentation led by Johann Nawawi, the architect who designed the training centre was also held in which he presented on the design concept of the new building.
In 2016, Maybank established its first silk weaving centre in Takeo province. Now operating in its eighth year, the Takeo centre has seen a total of 356 weavers who have graduated from the training programme and are now earning an average monthly income of USD350 per month. To date, the Maybank Women Eco-Weavers programme has trained 1,470 weavers and supported more than 1,300 farmers who have grown more than 340,000 mulberry trees.
Maybank Women Eco-Weavers is one of Maybank Foundation’s flagship programmes, designed to promote traditional textiles globally in a sustainable manner whilst creating economic independence and financial inclusion for women weavers across the ASEAN region. It is endorsed by ASEAN as a programme that aligns to the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint 2025, which seeks to preserve the ASEAN cultural heritage and contribute towards promoting awareness, identity, interaction and development of the people of ASEAN.
As an ASEAN accredited entity, Maybank Foundation promotes, strengthens and helps realise the aims and objectives of ASEAN’s regional and global agendas. This is in line with Maybank Group's mission as a regional bank in humanising financial services, acting as a force for good and positively impacting communities in the countries where we operate.