Cambodia Knits: Crafting for Change

Baby and Mama Monsters

Monika Nowaczyk’s family fled communist Poland when she was 6 years old. They relocated to Canada, and it was on this journey that she picked up knitting and crochet. Maybe this formative event is what opened her heart to the plights of Cambodians evicted from their homes and relocated to areas far from the city centers, where it was hard to make a living.

Years later, Monika read about a group in Bangladesh that was supporting over 2000 families through knitted goods, and something sparked:

Stitch by stitch. That is what appeals to me most about knitting. It is a slow and laborious process, sometimes monotonous, always meditative, that results in an end product completely unlike what one starts with: two sticks and some yarn. Now, stitch by stitch I hope that I can help people in Cambodia improve their situations through fair, flexible and rewarding employment.

In the summer of 2009, Monika launched Cambodia Knits, which she’s financing with her own savings and money from family and friends. She’d spent some time working for charitable Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) in Cambodia and sees Cambodia Knits as a chance “to reach more people, more directly with less strings (and reports) attached.” The group currently helps 25 knitters in two communities.

Women at a Cambodia Knits workshop in Toul Sambo

Monika is telling her story on Changents. She’s a great representative of the Changents mission: an individual Change Agent using her talents to improve the world around her.

Want to get your hands on a Cambodia Knit? You can find their wares online or in retail shops in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, Cambodia. If you’re a shop owner and would like to stock Cambodia Knits, they’re on the lookout for new outlets.

[All photos via Changents, used with permission.]

Written by Becky Striepe

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .

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