Good Karma

Austinite launches krama wheel, an online scarf shop supporting children in Cambodia

Austinite launches krama wheel, an online scarf shop supporting children in Cambodia

Austin Photo: News_kramawheel
A krama wheel scarf
Austin Photo Set: News_mary rose_krama wheel_sep 2012_weaver
A weaver and a helpful assistant Courtesy of krama wheel
austin photo set: new_mary rose_krama wheel_sep 2012_uniforms
Children in uniforms provided by krama wheel Courtesy of krama wheel
Austin Photo: News_kramawheel
Austin Photo Set: News_mary rose_krama wheel_sep 2012_weaver
austin photo set: new_mary rose_krama wheel_sep 2012_uniforms

Just in time for the almost fall weather tease comes the launch of krama wheel, an online scarf shop aiming to do a lot more than just keep your neck warm.

Similar to the widely successful TOMS Shoes’ (and the suspiciously identical Sketchers BOBS Shoes) one-for-one strategy, krama wheel extends a helping hand to a poverty-stricken corner of the world though beautiful, hand-loomed scarves.

With every scarf purchased, a child in Cambodia’s Siem Reap Province will receive a school uniform, without which he or she cannot attend school. For families unable to afford basic necessities, this donation signifies much more than a set of clothing — the uniform represents the opportunity to receive an education.

And the cycle doesn’t stop with the donation. Both the scarves and uniforms are handmade in Cambodia by local artisans, giving work to those struggling support their families and boosting the local economy.

The concept of krama wheel struck founder and Austinite Roni Sivan while backpacking though Southeast Asia. What was going to be a quick stop in Cambodia turned into an extended visit engaging with the community and learning of the country’s distressing past. Plagued by genocide in the 1970s, Cambodia continues to suffer tremendous losses, but the persevering warmth and kindness of its people overwhelmed Sivan.

The 13 scarf designs are named after some of the children Sivan met in various towns and villages around Cambodia, each representing the countless other children with amazing stories and big dreams.

Before krama wheel, Sivan headed Austin2Angkor, a project that raised money to build a community center in a remote Cambodian village.

“I shifted focus to scarves because the online shop allows us to reach more people here in the States and to support Cambodian communities on a larger scale,” explains Sivan.

Krama wheel currently partners with Build Your Future Today Center, an on-site humanitarian organization with “a long term presence in the community run by Cambodians who are dedicated to building their country.” The organization works directly with the krama wheel seamstresses to ensure each child receives the proper uniform.

In the future, Sivan hopes to reach out to other parts of Cambodia and eventually expand the model into other countries.