Interweaving Jewelry with Life in Siem Reap

Jamie Van is an upcoming high school senior from Huntington Beach, California. She spent part of her summer vacation in Siem Reap, Cambodia, with her mother, the creative director of Senhoa’s jewelry program.  She eloquently draws heartbeat of life in Siem Reap with that of the artisan’s work at Senhoa below.


Being in Cambodia again gives me such nostalgic feelings.  The automobiles are replaced by tuk-tuk drivers and the stressful nine-to-five grinds are soften with a leisure pace and with the balance of hard-work and enjoyment.  My reminiscent wanderings of Cambodia closely tie in with the dedication and care of the Senhoa jewelry program, all thanks to our jewelry artisans.

My time with Senhoa has been filled with fun, consuming and rewarding work. On the first day, I was able to help teach the artisans new designs and beading techniques. It took a bit of time for the them to learn but experience came in handy for us–seeing as it enabled us to train the girls concisely and efficiently.


By instructing the girls, we were able to set the wheels in motion. Each artisan within the jewelry program has an important role in the making of Senhoa’s jewelry lines. In the creation of one piece, the artisans have to work together as a whole and the creative director teaches them what they need to know to further aid them in working independently.  As one artisan weaves the framework for a pendant, another artisan connects the units with each other to make a segment of absolute beauty. At other times, the artisans will assist each other in making a new design of their own creative inspiration.  If one of them has a difficult time with a pattern, they will help each other out in a timely manner. They learn the importance of working with each other, of encouraging one another and of never giving up.

As life is always bouncing up and down in various directions, it is vital for minds, no matter how different, to be at ease with themselves and to start rolling towards a dream destination with focus.


With the making of each piece, I always see the pride in the girls' eyes in their handiwork–and the small sighs of relief when the task at hand is completed. I feel that Senhoa jewelry reflects not only the beauty the artisans possess but also the strength that they have within themselves.

The charm that our jewelry alludes to represents the strong capabilities within the human body and soul. Moreover, it emphasizes the embracement of life's grace. Senhoa is more than just a worthy organization–it is a vision for unity and sophistication.  All of which speaks to the larger composition that is Cambodia.

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