Three million people, mostly women, and thus one fifth of the population of Cambodia, work every day to produce textiles and clothing for the world market. Their factory accounts for 70% of the country's total export volume. In December 2019, the journalist and presenter Helen Fares spent a few weeks in Cambodia for the documentary "Mode.Macht.Menschen" by the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung and the director Patrick Kohl. She learned on site what our European consumption of clothing and textiles means for Cambodia - and especially for the workers in the factories.
Despite a 6-day week in textile factories and additional part-time jobs, many families in the provinces around Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh do not have enough income to pay their children's school fees. Education is the most promising way out of poverty for these children. With the help of English, in particular, they could gain a foothold in the emerging tourism industry and lead a self-determined life with their wages. Siek Hong got into immense debt due to her brother's accident and the associated hospital costs. We all know how quickly things can go wrong and how expensive it is to visit a doctor and stay in hospital without insurance. Such situations often result in children being taken out of schools and brought to work. Because there is simply no other way.
In order to enable more and more of these children to get a school education, Helen has now worked with STELP e. V. launched the “Better Chance” project. With the help of the local NGO CENTRAL Cambodia, we would like to give the children of families who are affected by poverty and low income (also because of our consumption decisions) financial support to attend school and English lessons - and thus a chance at one long-term future without poverty!
Starting with 5 families selected by Helen Fares and Siek Hong, there is the possibility of extending the help to other families as soon as the help for the first 5 families has been secured.