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Ramon Magsaysay Awardee Kommaly Chanthavong’s Newest Endeavor

Jan 24, 2024
10 min read
Ribbon cutting for the grand opening of the Phontong Cooperative & Mulberries Centre. In the photo are Kommaly Chanthavong, Amb. Delia Albert, First Lady of Laos Naly Sisoulith, Vice President of Laos H.E. Pany Yathotou, Ambassador of Malaysia to Lao PDR H.E. Ambassador Edi Irwan Mahmud, and Maybank Foundation officials.

2015 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee KOMMALY CHANTHAVONG opens Phontong Cooperative & Mulberries Centre last January 17 as a continuing effort to promote Laotian art, culture, and sustainable social enterprises.

The Phontong Cooperative & Mulberries Centre, a collaborative effort with Maybank Foundation, is a testament to CHANTHAVONG's unwavering commitment to community development, standing as a beacon of sustainable practices and empowerment. The center aims to uplift the lives of local communities through the cultivation of mulberries and the production of high-quality handwoven textiles. This initiative aligns with CHANTHAVONG's dedication to preserving Laotian cultural heritage while creating economic opportunities for women in rural areas.

Ambassador Delia Albert, a Trustee of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation who represented the Foundation, attended the grand opening and expressed admiration for CHANTHAVONG's visionary leadership. "Kommaly Chanthavong exemplifies the spirit of the Ramon Magsaysay Award, recognizing individuals who have made outstanding contributions to their communities. The Phontong Cooperative & Mulberries Centre stands as a testament to her enduring impact on sustainable development and social change," said Ambassador Albert.

Her attendance last January 17 further underscored the Foundation's commitment to supporting initiatives of the laureates to inspire the next generation towards a more culturally aware perspective. The ceremony featured cultural performances, showcasing the vibrant traditions of the region, and a tour of the facility, highlighting the various stages of mulberry cultivation and textile production. Local community members, dignitaries, and supporters joined in the celebration, marking a momentous day for sustainable development and cultural preservation.

Grand Opening of the Ponthong Cooperatives and Mulberries Centre2-WM.jpg

Amb. Albert congratulates Kommaly Chanthavong for establishing the Phontong Cooperative & Mulberries Centre.

RMAF President, Susan B. Afan, expresses, "We are very happy and proud with Kommaly Chanthavong's outstanding achievement, as she was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award nine years ago. Her continued dedication and innovative initiatives which empowers the role of women in social entrepreneurship truly embody greatness of spirit."

"The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation recognizes that gender equality is fundamental to creating a just and inclusive society. By supporting initiatives like the Phontong Cooperative & Mulberries Centre, the Foundation aims to champion the cause of women's empowerment, particularly in underprivileged communities," adds President Afan.

As the Phontong Cooperative & Mulberries Centre embarks on its journey, it symbolizes the enduring impact of the Ramon Magsaysay Awardees and their commitment to creating positive change in the world.


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