About Us - Sampan
Ethical Existence, that's what we strive forRahul and Kinnari founded Ethical Existence in an effort to give sustainable support primarily to social enterprises, Not For Profit (NFP) and Fair trade organisations. Ethical Existence, based in foothills of Dandenong ranges in Melbourne South East, will provide cost effective yet efficient services in areas of Business process improvement, Organisation restructuring and benchmarking Procurement practices. Sampan is our online store trading in Ethical, Eco-friendly and Exclusive products. Sampan was originally setup by Karen Gifford in 2011, who has a passion for South East Asia through extensive travel and supporting charities in Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Whenever she travelled she was touched by the resilience and determination of people whose lives have been torn apart by war and re-built with great humility. Even today Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia are littered with unexploded ordnance and it is a regular occurrence for limbs or lives to be lost. We share Karen’s passion for people and their hand crafted products. Our endeavour is to further enhance the support for disadvantaged artisans with Fair Trade practices. For Ethical Existence services please Contact us
The Laos Disabled Women's Development Centre(Recycled Paper Products)
The LDWDC is a not for profit organisation, run by women with disabilities, for women with disabilities and their families.
Disabled women are among the most vulnerable groups in Laos. The combined factors of gender and disability often leads to difficulty accessing education and gaining employment. LDWDC provides vocational and life skills training, in sewing, weaving, recycled paper products, as well as english, social development and small business management enabling disabled women to return to their villages and earn a living.
Khanthaly was born into a farmer family in 1989 in Sekong Province. She was born with a disability in both her legs and her parents passed away when she was young. In 2007 she came to LWDC to study paper making and graduated after 9 months.
Since 2008 Khantaly has been an employee of LDWDC. She earns a modest living, makes her own life choices and is able to send money home to her family.
Craftlink (Coconut Bowls & Tape Measures)Craft Link is a Vietnamese not for profit fair trade organisation which supports traditional craft producers by providing a distribution channel, teaching business skills and ensuring a safe work environment. It is their vision that ‘One day all the artisans in Vietnam will earn a fair wage and have a happy life’. They give preference to producers who are marginalised or disadvantaged, such as ethnic minority people in remote areas, street children, and people with disabilities. Currently Craft Link is supporting 63 artisan groups throughout Vietnam, in which:
- 45% are ethnic minorities
- 25% are disadvantaged groups
- 30% are traditional villages
Smile House ( Silk Lanterns)
The idea of setting up Smile House occurred nine years ago to Trinh Xuan Vinh, head of the Hoi An Association for Disabled Youth, who himself has a disability. It took Vinh and four other members five years to raise the VND50 million (US$2,400) that was needed.
Smile House opened in January 2010 and now provides employment and support to people with a disability who make handicrafts such as lanterns, embroidery, and bags. Many of its members, who were often rejected by other employers, say their souls have been reborn after coming to Smile House, where they are loved by everybody.
Dan Thi Buu Tram spent most of her life isolated at home, as she suffers from cerebal palsy which affects her co-ordination and severely limited her ability to travel. Tram first learnt to walk when she was six years old but even then was unable to attend school so she never learnt to read or write. Tram has now found her niche at Smile House where she works crafting traditional silk lanterns. She travels to work every day with her new pump action bicycle.