In the village, there are not many options of jobs for those who are not graduated high school, even worse is when they could not even go to school. In most villages, villagers could either be farmers or construction workers. For those who are more fortunate, they got pieces of land from their parents to do the agriculture, people who don’t; they get paid to do the harvesting job in harvesting season which mostly only two times a year.
In the village near the dump site of Siem Reap, Onloung Pi, villagers have another option of job is going to the dump site and pick whatever they can and sell to the recycling companies which are in the neighboring countries like Vietnam or Thailand. Since working in the dump site is near home, family and children; than going for construction works which are available in Siem Reap town or Thailand, they are more likely choose to work there over their health that is more likely to get damaged by times in the tremendous place like the dump site.
Kumae created the banana paper project in order to provide alternative option of job for those who do not want to work in the dump site. We started the project so small that we could not pay our staffs with higher salary compared to what they could earn at the dump site. We began with just three former garbage pickers to nine strong amazing female staffs.
We once asked all our staffs a bunch of questions for improvement and development. Among those questions was “why are you still here while others came after you already quit?”. A beautiful 35 years old mother said, I believe in what Takuya said long time ago that we are building this community not just for our better future, but for the future that we want our children to live in. If any of my children does not want to continue going to school, they can work here and live as happy as others in this community we build.
Written by Sour Rathakanha