Cambodia – making a change

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As travel agent I got to travel to many extraordinary places in the world, but the first time I travelled to Cambodia,  I sensed something different about the place. The feeling was so strong – the connection instant – and I just knew that something in me had changed forever.

The Khmer people radiate beauty, they live respectfully and are happy despite having very little. Their society was devastated by years of civil war, and Cambodia went from a prosperous content nation to one without infrastructure or an educated population.  As it recovers, it emerges as a place of contradictions; each time I go back I am left questioning so many new things, things that I thought I had figured out on my last visit.  On the one hand, there is unimaginable sadness and hardship, and yet on the other, there is laughter, creativity, inspiration and amazing resilience.

Cambodia has opened my eyes to what our western society affords us, with our limitless opportunities and good fortune.  My children, and future generations living in the west, are taught they can DO and BE anything they want to be, their options are many.  Yet I have met many Cambodians who are living this same motto, but from a very different starting point.

The aim of “Fairly Cambodian” is to provide an international market for the fair and ethically produced products made by entrepreneurial, hard working Khmer people. Employment generates an income that enables families to educate their children.  These children are Cambodian’s future and with education and global awareness, Cambodia can recover.  It will take more than one generation, but every fair trade purchase, every conscious action and positive thought, will make a difference in their lives and futures.

Why Cambodia?

– Because children die of starvation every day.

– To help a little girl who walks in agony on deformed feet.  Her parents did not have the US$1.50 moto (moped) fare to get her to the hospital for treatment when she was a baby.

– To prevent children being sold into prostitution and slavery.

– Because 70% of the population has no access to clean water.

– To give children a better life.  Children currently live on rubbish dumps and sift through the filth, collecting items that can be recycled.  They get paid 70c per day.

– So that the half of the population who live on less than US$1 per day, can improve their future prospects.

– Because we can help.  We can make a difference in their lives.  We are lucky enough to live in a society where we can help.  We can’t fix everything, stop all their pain or put a total end to the poverty, but we can play our part.

– Because doing something is better than turning away and doing nothing at all.

Fairly Cambodian products are available at Bed Love Home.

By Kerrie Meehan

CEO Fairly Cambodian

 

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