Joom Noon is the Khmer for word for special gift. The project is an innovative micro enterprise that was started by VIC in Preah Vihear, Cambodia, a remote northern province. Launched as a way to provide economic opportunity for civilian war victims and landmine survivors in an especially remote and abandoned region, the project has rekindled the local artistry of silk weaving and revitalized the local economy. Joom Noon began with 5 female landmine victims now employs some 40 spinners, dyers, and weavers, over half of whom are women. The project produces quality silk scarves that are sold worldwide.
Joom Noon silks are richly woven, brightly colored, and delicately textured. Every phase in the production of the silk bears the quality and distinction of handcraftsmanship. Picked from the leaves of local mulberry trees, silk worms are individually harvested and shorn of their thread. The raw silk is expertly dyed by hand, and spun into a fine yarn for weaving. The end product - the scarves and sarongs - bear traditional Cambodian patterns, and their vibrant palette is inspired by the colors of seasonal fruits and the leaves and bark of local trees.
Though victims of Cambodia's decade-long civil war, the artisans of Preah Vihear are using their skills to build a positive and hopeful future. Drawing upon a rich regional tradition of spinning and weaving, they are revitalizing their community and seizing a better tomorrow. These scarves are woven by victims of conflict who have turned their tremendous hardship into a positive, productive, inspiring triumph.
In 2002 the Joom Noon project became self-sustaining. The people of Preah Vihear are still producing beautifully woven silks and the project continues to thrive. This now self-managed project goes under the name “Weaves of Cambodia”.