| Bamboo and rattan products from Giong Dinh hamlet (Photo: Ngoc Anh)
Giong Dinh hamlet has a craft history of nearly 90 years. In the early 2000s, the craft was close to dying. Its products remained unsold and many people quit their job.
Diep Thi Trang spent time studying the market and created new products, changing product designs and resizing products as souvenirs for tourists. Her efforts revived Giong Dinh’s bamboo and rattan craft.
Trang, who owns the cooperative group named after her, recalled, “I opened the cooperative group in 2007 when the provincial Department of Industry and Trade asked me to make souvenirs for tourists. The products had to be resized to make them easier to carry. I taught myself and then taught the techniques to other women in the village.”
Trang’s family is the only one that makes small fine art handicrafts, rural utensils, and souvenirs. In the past, they made the same products, but in bigger sizes, which wasn’t as profitable and consumed more materials.
“Today a miniature set of 12 items includes a dish-cover, a flower basket, a fish basket, a plate basket, and a toothpick jar, all for about 4 USD. All of our products are bought by Soc Trang province to sell to other localities, like Hanoi. Our 87 employees can’t meet all the orders,” said Trang.
In 2019, the miniature set of rural utensils made by the Diep Thi Trang cooperative was certified by the Tra Vinh province People's Committee as meeting the One Commune One Product (OCOP) program’s 3-star standards.
The Central Committee of the Vietnam Women's Union and the Women's Union at all levels have sent representatives to observe Trang’s model and help the cooperative operate more efficiently.
|A member of the Diep Thi Trang cooperative group weaves bamboo and rattan products.
Trang was given a certificate of satisfactory progress by the Chairman of Tra Vinh province’s People's Committee in recognition of her contributions to the community.
Trang’s cooperative group produces 12,000 sets per month. Some are sold domestically, and some are purchased for export by businesses in bac Lieu, Soc Trang, Vung Tau city, and HCMC.
This gives cooperative members a stable income of about 210 USD a month. Lam Thi Chung, an employee of the cooperative group, said that they make 12 items ranging from flower baskets to flowers vases to wine decanters.
“Each day I can make 20 baskets, which earns me about 4 USD. I’ve been working for the co-op for a couple of years. I specialize in making decorative flower baskets,” said Chung.
The Diep Thi Trang cooperative has linked households and created jobs for local women, who no longer have to work far from home. Now they have time to take care of their family, do the farm work, and earn extra money in their free time, so their economic situation has improved.
Kim Thi Thanh, another co-op employee, said, “I've worked here for several years. I can make 50 pieces a day and earn 2 USD. I work whenever I have free time after doing housework.”