Saoban was started by PADETC, Lao NGO, as a fair trade social business that works with traditional handicraft artisans to preserve and promote Lao village crafts, create employment opportunities for villagers - mostly women - and reduce poverty. Saoban means ‘villager’ in the Lao language.
Saoban supports more than 300 village artisans from five provinces of Laos. When you buy from Saoban, you provide employment and training for the artisans, and the profits stay in the village communities.
Saoban works with hundreds of artisans across ten provinces in Laos. Many of our artisans lived through the American War and Secret War of the 1960s, and experienced firsthand the upheaval of the revolution in 1975. In rural areas and among various ethnic groups, craft making provided a source of income and stability. Their stories, available clicking the photos below, demonstrate individuals and communities with remarkable talent and resilience.