“For a a lot of women, flowers play an important role in their lives,” says Sophea Chea. “What I want them to feel is happiness and joy. I want to use flowers as a tool.”
Angkor Flowers and Crafts is a social enterprise based in Cabramatta, Sydney. Founded by Chea in 2014, the business employs women from migrant backgrounds who have low levels of education and have been raised with the belief that their sole purpose is to be a stay-at-home housewife.
Originally from Cambodia, Chea has seen many of her female family members being made to finish their education as soon as possible and the stigma associated with women promoting professional careers.
Many women who migrate to Australia are of similar backgrounds, and therefore have little work opportunities when they arrive. Chea hopes to help these women out: by teaching them how to create flower arrangements and liaise with clients, their confidence, language skills and employment prospects when they eventually want to find work elsewhere are increased.
When Angkor Flowers & Crafts began, it only worked with migrants from Southeast Asian countries such as Cambodia and Thailand, but today women from as far as Peru, Iran and Chad are benefiting from their employment with the social enterprise.
The universal appeal of flowers and its ability to be a “positive emotion inducer”, according to research, has made a difference in the lives of these women whose needs are often marginalized by public policy.
Photo Credits to Angkor Flowers & Crafts