The Iron Workshop was founded in 2004, initially called the House of crafts. At first the project was intended to teach young Cambodians the art of ironwork and woodcraft, but in 2010 it was decided to focus the project completely on the manufacturing of iron, aiming to achieve financial self-sufficiency of the workshop. The idea was to render the workshop independent of funds from Italy (for which we must thank the work of volunteers covering operating expenses such as maintenance of the students, staff salaries, purchase of equipment and materials) and to embark upon a new initiative (see Saat School).
Already in 2011, and especially during 2012, the Iron Workshop was able to sustain itself by it’s own efforts and continue the training of new students in the creation of products which are purchased by both the business community of Siem Reap and the non-governmental organizations engaged in international development cooperation.
The economic viability of the laboratory for us is twofold:
- Confirmation that the operations of the “Drop” can be, not as a mere transfer of resources from rich countries to poor ones, but rather as a cataclysmic agent of human and material resources existing in the recipient countries, just by unity and strength of will, the presence and resources of people cooperating and working together can activate local development processes.
- As an example and inspiration for the identification, testing and / or consolidation of specific sectorial policies. It is true that the possibility of a project inspires or reinforces a political policy depending above all on its impact, the effectiveness and credibility of those involved.
As evidence of this, already thirty young Cambodians are using their skills acquired in our laboratory working either in our workshop, independently (“self employed”) or as employees in other factories, thus creating a system of income that provides for the livelihood of many families and the economics of the region.