Houey Hong Vocational Training Centre for Women was established originally to provide training in the art of weaving for Lao women from poor backgrounds. Over time, with funding from international non-governmental organizations, the training centre has expanded its scope to include minority ethnic groups and disabled folk.
The Centre was founded by Japanese-educated Chanthasone Inthavong in 1998, and offers short courses in weaving, dyeing, sewing and small business administration. Together with the job placement programme, it hopes to help generate income for people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
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Situated seven km from Vientiane city centre in a Houey Hong Village, Chanthabury District, the centre is surrounded by a pleasant garden. There are altogether eight buildings, some of which are dedicated studios and workshop areas for weaving, dyeing, and tailoring.
The sporadic nature of its funding means that the centre has to support itself and it does so by selling crafts made on the premises and offering tailoring services. They also offer half or full-day workshops, where visitors learn the craft of Laotian weaving. This includes designing patterns, tying thread, dyeing (using natural colour), and trial loom weaving.
Participants get to take their creations home. The cost of the workshops usually includes transfer (pick up in front of Mixay Temple) and lunch. If you want to make your own way to the centre, Houey Hong is also reachable by tuk tuks and local buses.