Silk and Stones Travel

Support for Social Enterprises


Dyed Silk at the Houey Hong Center for Weaving in Vientiane, Laos

Silk and Stones Travel “Giving Back”

At Silk and Stones Travel we are dedicated to the support of the local villages and communities -- through non-profits, social enterprises, and sometimes government organizations.  Most of us are familiar with non-profits such as the International Red Cross; and with government aid organizations, such as USAid.  Social enterprises are business ventures that operate in all the usual ways of business, but also have a core aim to accomplish targets that are social and environmental as well as financial.  The Stanford University of Social Enterprise uses this definition:  a solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, or sustainable than existing solution and for which the value, or profit, created accrues primarily to society as a whole rather than private individuals.

Silk and Stones Travel seeks out both non-profit organizations and social enterprise business ventures that benefit the communities where we travel and work. The list below is growing, as more ventures emerge, and as we find and include existing ones; so check this page frequently for updates.  Where available, we have included the organization web site and contact information.  Most of these organizations support communities in Southeast Asia, but we have added some ventures that support efforts in eastern Africa, because of our personal support of these ventures, and their importance to the local communities in Ethiopia and Tanzania.

Where possible, Silk and Stones Travel also supports local schools encountered as part of the itinerary of specific trips.  If you are interested in any of these ventures, please review the specific web site or contact us for more information.

Great Articles

  1. Bullet “Leapfrogging the Internet”, One on One by Keith Bellows, National Geographic Traveler, July - August , 2011, p. 20, 26 - new technology to provide messaging systems for grassroots nonprofits in developing countries

International Volunteering

Check these web site for important information about volunteer programs abroad.

  1. Bullet

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  7. Bullet Global Vision International

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

  1. Bullet Center for Children’s Happiness - an orphanage near the Phnom Penh dump that brings children from the dump, provides a safe, healthy living and education environment.  Absolutely inspirational.  The Director is Mr. Mech Sokha.

  2. Bullet Tabitha -- co-op supporting women and villagers with a shop and workshop in the KPP section of Phnom Penh at the intersection of St 360 and St 51.  Beautiful color blocked scarves,
    pillows, duvets, table ware, as well as creative toys for children.  Has a donation program similar to Heifer International
  3. Bullet Kravan House -- Silk and cotton batik accessories made by disabled artisans.  Shop on Street 178 near the river in Phnom Penh

  4. Bullet Mith Samlanh “Friends” -- a collection of ventures training orphans and street children in restaurant and hospitality jobs.  The well known and delightful restaurant, Romdeng, near the palace is an excellent choice for lunch or dinner.  “Nailbar” is the beauty shop near the museum where students learn skills for the growing beauty industry in Cambodia.

  5. Bullet Stay Another Day Cambodia - Active organization supporting many of the Cambodian social enterprises.  Published the well known orange pamphlet of descriptions of such organizations in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and other locations throughout Cambodia.

  6. Bullet CleanUp - a Canadian enterprise making and selling bar soap shaped like a land mine.  Proceeds fund land mine removal, survivor assistance and The Cambodian Landmine Museum in Cambodia.

Siem Reap, Cambodia

  1. Bullet TAB Siem Reap - read the 2010 letter

  2. Bullet Artisans de Angkor -- the well known and respected workshops training homeless young people in the lacquer, stone carving, silk weaving traditions of Cambodia.  The shop and workshops in downtown Siem Reap provide an introduction to the project, and the products are also available at both the Siem Reap and Phnom Penh airports.

  3. Bullet Teachers Across Borders -- a US non-profit that organizes workshops for 200+ Cambodian teachers and administrators each summer in Siem Reap.  Read about the 2009 program on the blog entry:  Teaching in Siem Reap.

  4. Bullet Sangkheum Centre for children - vocational training for orphans with training for hospitality industry.  Graduates are employed at the Soria Moria Hotel.  Meet the trainers every Fri. evening as they perform traditional dances

  5. Bullet Soria Moria Hotel - employees graduates from the Sangkheum Centre and also rents “White Bicycles” to benefit the center.

  6. Bullet The Global Heritage Fund -- A conservancy based in Palo Alto, CA leads projects to preserve Banteay Chhmar Temple by engaging the local Khmer specialists and developing a model for sustainable tourism in the area.

  7. Bullet PEPY Tours - stands for Protect the Environment, Protect Yourself, and leads bike tours to rural Cambodia to reaise money for schools.

  8. Bullet Sala Bai, Cahbv Cambodia - A hotel school in Siem Reap selects 100 youths annually for an 11 month training program.  65% of students are women, and all graduates find jobs in the tourism industry in Siem Reap.

  9. Bullet Globalateer’s projects to help children learn English.

  10. Bullet Caring for Cambodia

  11. Bullet ConCERT - Connecting Communities, Environment & Responsible Tourism in Siem Reap to help street people. 063 963 511

Luang Prabang, Laos

  1. Bullet Ock Pop Tok -- supports the fiber arts traditions of northern Laos.  Shops in Luang Prabang and a weaving center with workshops, classes and events.

  2. Bullet Saffron -- coffee growing co-op with a roasting factory in Luang Prabang and a cafe along the Mekong

Vientiane, Laos

  1. Bullet Lao Textiles -- the exquisite, elegant textiles from Carol Cassidy’s workshop in Vientiane.  Watch the weavers and spinners at work on the intricate, matchless textiles from this workshop

  2. Bullet Houey Hong Center -- supports a weaving center north of Vientiane training disadvantaged women to create silk textiles.  Also supports outreach to the women of Myanmar for training and education in traditional textile work.  Contact Ms. Phon at for more information.  Classes and workshops for half day or full day are available.  Products from the center are at a small shop along the Mekong.


  1. Bullet Center for Women and Development Hotel (CWD) -- a 90+ room hotel, despite the name for both men and women, restaurant, conference and banquet facilities operated by the Vietnam Women’s Union.  Proceeds help fund activities supporting women throughout Vietnam.

  2. Bullet KOTO -- similar to Mith Samlang in Phnom Penh, this venture supports vocational training for street children in two locations in Hanoi.  The restaurant near the Temple of Literature is a convenient and lovely spot for lunch.

  3. Bullet Craftlink -- a fair trade organization with a shop near the Temple of Literature 43 Van Mieu and at the Ethnographic Museum for silk scarves and embroidered tote bags, horn bracelets, and other handicraft items.  Provides excellent support for traditional artisans, especially minority tribes.

  4. Bullet The World Wide Fund for Nature for the greater Mekong basin has recently published a list of Hanoi restaurants who have pledged to never serve animals on the endangered list.  Among the restaurants on the list are several favorites of Silk and Stones Travelers:  Au Lac House, Wild Rice, Green Tangerine, and others.  Find their addresses and phone numbers on the city resource list for Hanoi.

  5. Bullet International Market Development and Investment, 3G1, Bldg G, La Thanh Hotel, 218 Doi Can, 04-7624775, social entrepreneur company specializing in equitable trading and consulting in agriculture and handicraft sectors,

  6. Bullet Association Batik International - an international NGO that works with vulnerable Mong women in the Lung Tam craft cooperative in North Vietnam.  They work with hemp fabric to weave, embroider, and sew beautiful table and clothing products.

  7. Bullet Operation Lyhou -- Purchase a cool T-shirt and contribute to raising funds for a new school in a remote rural village in Vietnam.  Heather Starbuck at the University of Colorado is selling graphic tee shirts to raise $13,000 for a new school and teacher support.

  8. Bullet The Reading Glass Project -- read the story about delivering reading glasses to the women in ethnic minority villages in north Vietnam, and before traveling to Vietnam, order them on this site:

  9. Bullet The Same Cafe - 2023 Colfax Blvd.  Founded by Brad and Libby Birky.  SAME stands for So All May Eat.  A cafe where you pay what you can for lunch.


  1. Bullet Woven Promises - scarves from Ethiopia.  Organized by Jonnie Segars and Penny Webster.

  2. Bullet Mission Wear - a Denver organization that recycles garments and plastics banners into tote bags

  3. Bullet Village Health Partnership - helping women with medical problems from birth and deliver in villages west of Addis Ababa

  4. Bullet Waterlines, Water for People, and Water1st - organizations that develop solutions for clean water in Ethiopia

  5. Bullet Hearts Full of Happy - a new non-profit helping children in Gimbe, Ethiopia with schooling

  6. Bullet Footsteps to Health - Providers of women’s health at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) are collaborating with Gimbie Adventist Hospital (GAH), a rural hospital located in the Western highlands of Ethiopia, to improve women’s health, particularly

to decrease maternal morbidity and mortality and to improve quality of life.


  1. Bullet MicroinMongolia - follow a Princeton Fellow in Asia as he works with bank loans in Ulan Bator, Mongolia.

  2. Bullet Merci-Merci:  Bernard and Marie-France Cohen, founders of the well-known Bonpoint line of children’s clothing, opened this sprawling boutique last March in an  old fabric factory near the Place de la Republique, and donate the profits they make from this intriguingly offbeat selection of clothing, house-wares and furniture to children’s charities in India and Madagascar.  Goods on offer range from recycled plastic kitchenware for about $22 to over the top chandeliers made from shells in Africa for several thousand euros.  111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 3rd arrondissement, Tel 01-42-77-00-33.


  1. Bullet  “Voluntourism 2.0”, Iris Kuo and Geoffrey Fowler, Wall Street Journal, June 2008

  2. Bullet  “Doing Good:  Eco Tripping”, J J Ramberg, Entrepreneur, March 2008 P. 24

  3. Bullet  “How Venture Philanthropists Use Design Thinking to help solve Real World Problems”, Jessi Hempel, IN, March 2007

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