Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What Does One Dollar Buy in Cambodia

In Cambodia, the population is roughly 15 million.  One third of the population lives on less than $1 a day.  These are mainly the rural poor who typically live in the provinces and small villages.  They usually grow and raise their own food.  The one-dollar-a-day they theoretically make is made by selling any excess of their crops or livestock.  What can that one dollar buy in Cambodia?  One of the following:

1 pound of rice, some pork fat, and green

1 Mango

1 Krama (traditional scarf worn around the head)

2 gallons drinking water

2 cans Coca Cola

1 kilo clean laundry

2 bowls of noodles

It is always humbling to get a glimpse of what our artisans lives are like.  It provides the inspiration for Elevita to keep doing all that we can to encourage them in their efforts and enterprises to improve their economic situation and to provide educational opportunities for their children. 

Elevita is indeed privileged to work with our hard working and entrepreneurial Cambodian Artisans. 

These beautiful ladies of Phnom Penh have created an organization called Khmer Creations in an effort to liberate themselves from domestic violence.  Though they appear happy in their craft, their lives outside this shelter are laden with tragic stories.  They each hope to sell enough of their work to become financially independent, which will enable them in turn to free themselves from difficult circumstances.  The beautiful work they create is truly amazing! 
Sok Chan is a Cambodian woman whose handicap restricts her to a wheelchair.  Even with this restriction, she uses native fabric to sew beautiful purses and wallets as a way of supporting her 10-year-old son, Siv Hoa.  Sok Chan is very grateful to be an Elevita artisan, as this gives her the possibility to be self-reliant.

In Battambang, Cambodia, there is a lovely group of women who have gathered together because of common economic needs.  These ladies come from families who are either very poor or whose parents have HIV/AIDS.  These women produce bags of exceptional quality, though they had not had customers for over a year when Elevita found them.  Now they are happily employed, very productive and they create some of Elevita's best selling items!

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