Director Tom Acton had the pleasure of staying with Kommaly Chanthavong for a few days in Laos to shoot a mini documentary piece for Samaritan’s Purse. This video was for the Samaritan’s Purse 50th anniversary highlighting the support they have given her over many years.  Kommaly is an incredible person helping many people in the poor mountain ranges of Laos find a way to support their life by keeping the tradition of Sericulture alive.  Her beautiful woven silks and silk products are now sold around the world!  Determination is a key word to describe Kommaly.  She shared she had never worn shoes until she was 14 years old.  Made herself out of the bomb and war ridden area of Xiangkhouang province to become educated in the main city of Vientiane, only to return home to help her people.


Here is a write up below on Kommaly.  Read more about her products at 

In 1976, Kommaly founded a cooperative for the production of silk, which she still heads. The cooperative teaches mostly women traditional skills in raising silkworms, making natural dyes and weaving traditional patterns. The successful marketing of the products provides a fair and steady income to several hundred families, supporting the socio-economic development of local communities.

Kommaly was 11 years old when her village was destroyed by US bombers attacking the Ho Chi Minh Trail. She walked for a month to Vientiane, the capital of Laos, bringing with her silk weaving skills that her family has been engaged in for generations. Following this devastating experience, Kommaly met many desperately poor families displaced from rural areas without any marketable skills. In 1976, she founded a cooperative with 10 members; now there are more than 3,000. In a model farm which she manages with her equally dedicated husband, Kommaly offers courses on the production of high-quality textiles: from growing mulberry trees to raising silkworms, to spinning the ultra-fine threads, to preparing natural dyes and weaving traditional patterns.

In 2005, Kommaly was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize with 1000 Peace Women for her contribution to strengthening the position of women by giving them a dependable income and thus improving the lives of their children.

Director, Cinematographer, Editor

Tom Acton


Regan Kuemper