The GreenHeart Foundation is a humanitarian project that aims to establish self-sustaining textile industries in impoverished Laotian villages to (1) provide an alternative to prostitution for women and young girls, (2) fund bomb removal teams to clear unexploded ordnance from civilian land, and (3) fund much-needed village infrastructure, most prominently facilities for clean drinking water and education. Read more about the GreenHeart Foundation.
Northeastern Laos, and Xam Neua in particular, are home to the ancient weaving tradition that GreenHeart means to revive. Currently, local weavers are undercut by merchants who sell synthetic fibers and dyes to the Laotian villagers under the guise of authentic silk. Village weavers buy the fake silk at a high price and expect a high return which does not arrive. Worse still, merchants purchase Laotian textiles on consignment deals and often either fail to maintain their end of the bargain or else wait up to a year before returning with the promised payment, during which time local weavers may be forced into opium production or the sex trade for sustenance. With GreenHeart's help, artisans regain control their own sustainable livelihoods.