Khoutkeo of Phonesong Village is a 33 years old farmer and bamboo basket weaver; she has two young teenagers. Her family cultivates rice. In addition, she grows fruit trees and vegetables, and raises ducks and chickens. As a result, her family does not have to buy much food. However, her husband is a construction worker, who is often gone 2-3 months at a time and unemployed during the rainy season. So, for much of the year, family cash comes from Khutkeo’s basket weaving. She started weaving baskets in 2000, at first using cheaper, lower quality bamboo and selling to a middleman.
Since becoming part of PADETC/SaoBan’s basket-producer group supported by our microfinance project, she has improved her skills, uses higher quality bamboo, and earns more. Now she can send her children to middle school and even give them lunch money. Her dream is to support them through university.