A Glimpse Inside Vietnam:
Vietnamese society places a high value on education and has a literacy rate of 93%. In a country of almost 90 million people, Vietnam features over 2700 "craft villages" each of which specialize in a traditional handcraft that has been done for hundreds of years. One such example is the art of horn carving.
The majority of the poor in Vietnam are ethnic minorities (86% Kinh) living in rural areas, with little access to land for farming. 80% of Vietnamese are engaged in rice cultivation, and the country is the 2nd largest exporter worldwide and the 7th largest consumer of rice.
Water buffalo are honored as important animals in rice cultivation and thus in Vietnamese culture and traditions. The massive water buffalo is used to help till the large fields of rice throughout the country.
Our partner artisans in the Dang Yen and Thuy Ung villages have been traditionally carving discarded horn pieces for over 400 years from animals that have died of old age or used for meat consumption.
Belart began opening international markets and working with a group of Vietnamese artisans in 2011, after meeting one of their artisan groups at a fair and admiring their unique craftsmanship. The residents of Dang Yen and Thuy Ung carve unique pieces that were once created only for royal families and now are available to Belart's customers.
This ancient craft continues to provide artisans and their families with a sustainable and reliable income and enables their traditions and cultures to be shared with the world. Our WFTO ( World Fair Trade Organization) partner in Vietnam provides business training for the artisans and ensures fair wages and fair pricing for their goods.