FAIR Talks May | Global Fashion Mission
Lyneath Vong had no backup plan. In 2016, she sent in her resignation at her job and hopped on a plane to connect with the families in Cambodia she had met years before, on a trip that changed her from the inside out. As scary as it was to take that leap of faith, she saw it as the only rational response to a world out of balance. During her visits to Cambodia, Lyneath became aware of many dignity stripping realities of the daily life of the people. Children working in waste dumps and not getting an education, men being labor trafficked and women and girls exploited in the sex industry were truths she couldn’t un-see. What’s more, a beautiful cultural principle of respecting your elders had been tainted and turned on its head to manipulate children into human trafficking snares by asking them to “go with auntie”. Armed with the assurance that redemption can seep into the cracks of every broken thing, Lyneath founded the Global Fashion Mission (GFM).
The two main issues her company seeks to simultaneously provide healing in our waste management and human trafficking prevention. GFM employs 30 families throughout Cambodia to upcycle the plastic bags from concrete and livestock feed into a versatile line of travel bags and purses. Since May 2016, they have prevented 2,266 pounds of industrial plastic bags from going into landfills. The hope is that in reducing the amount of waste, more kids will be able to go to school instead of working in the landfills. Her company also gives parents a job they can be proud of, where they can work from home and be there waiting for their kids to get home from school. This, in turn, decreases the amount of time their kids would be alone as prey to the deceitful, luring tactics of human traffickers. In addition, GFM educates families on the red flags to spot traffickers and how to get out of vulnerable situations.
Lyneath has a heart to partner with others who are doing powerful things to bring restoration to a hurting world. Her company offers grants and support to people who are just getting started with their own social enterprises. She also promotes Craftworks Cambodia’s jewelry made from upcycled bombshells. Through this initiative, artisans can experience twofold restoration by taking their war-torn history into their own hands. They get to make something beautiful out of metal once purposed to destroy, while also providing themselves with a source of income.
Lyneath brainstorms with her families personally about new product designs. You can find their products in pop-ups around Los Angeles and Long Beach, various boutiques and online at globalfashionmission.com. Some next steps for them are training upcoming leaders in Cambodia and in the states to position themselves for growth. Then, GFM wants to tap into more buying power by increasing their line of personalized corporate products. Lyneath seems to have a sharp grasp of something we must all hold in tension…while we should own and wield the power we’ve been given on behalf of the powerless, justice has never rested in the hands of one man or woman. Her presence doesn’t move people to praise her but inspires you to stand beside her and take your place in this battle to win back the dignity that always belonged to the Cambodians, by their very nature of being human.
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To learn more, visit globalfashionmission.com.