Meet the Artisan: Kao Panha

Meet the Artisan: Kao Panha

Kao Panha,
Creator of Wooden Mala Bracelets & Necklaces in Cambodia


Kao Panha is an artisan from Prek Takov Village in Cambodia. His wood workshop is set up at home where he works and handcrafts wooden beads. Each bead is meticulously hand made by him and crafted into malas, a string of 108 beads that are used as a tool to help the mind focus on meditation. He creates the wooden beads used in the Saamnang "Luck" Mala Bracelets & Necklaces. (link to product). He is married with two children and supports his family through his craft. 


Panha became an orphan at a young age and has had a challenging life. He has never attended school and was never able to receive any education. As a young adult like so many other uneducated individuals living in the area he worked in a low income construction job.

Inspiration leads to an artisanal business opportunity

One day he came across a woodworking artisanal business. He was so inspired that it became his dream to become a woodworking artisan. He began saving money and once he had enough he paid the shop owner to teach him woodworking skills. 

Panha has realized his woodworking dream and is running a business out of his home. But the economic crisis that COVID-19 has created has also negatively impacted his business as well. 

Working with ShopatMAP has helped stabilize his business so he can continue supporting his family. He dreams that one day he can expand his business and employ young men such as himself, giving them an opportunity to build a better future for themselves. 

View the woodworking process that Panha uses in this video to see the transformation from pieces of wood shaped into round beads that are then handcrafted into mala necklaces and bracelets.


By: ShopatMAP


Products crafted by Panha: