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Social Enterprise Retail Shop Specialised in Local Art Work and Buddhist Objects

Recognising that employment and economic opportunity are central to improving the livelihood of local communities, the Buddhist Heritage Project has initiated a social enterprise in the form of a retail shop in the heart of Luang Prabang with the financial and strategic support of the Foundation.

The shop’s social impact is complex and multi-fold. Firstly, specialising in quality art work and Buddhist objects it provides a vital outlet for local artists and artisans and as such improves their livelihood. In a similar vein, the shop will ensure that the art work produced by - the soon to be opened - Vocational School of Arts will have an outlet for sales. Second, the shop represents much needed employment opportunity to several local youngsters. Last but not least, all profits generated will go to support the schools at the Buddhist Academy.

By naming the shop Celadon, the project pays homage to an art form that has been lost in Luang Prabang, that of the creation of high glazed ceramics. Hopefully the establishment of the Buddhist Vocational School of Arts will provide an opportunity to revive this ancient tradition among fine art and artisan skills.

The shop was opened in January 2017, and its initial year of operation already proved to be a success both in terms of the social and financial impact. By sourcing the products sold, the shortage of artisan skills became even more apparent, which lends additional weight to the validity of the vision of creating the Vocational School of Arts. The Buddhist Heritage Project envisions the retail shop as the first step leading to an all-encompassing project, ultimately including a shop, studio and workshop spaces. Graduates from the Arts School will find employment and an outlet for their works and as the social enterprise grows so too will the economic benefit to students, former students, their families and the community at large.