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About Kumae

About Kumae

Background

Gabage Problem

Cambodia has been in a rapid growth in recent years. The GDP growth rate has kept around 10% since 1993. However, it is not proportional to economic growth and the spread of infrastructure is delayed, so the problem of garbage disposal has become a problem in various parts of Cambodia.

Dump Site

Siem Reap, a town where one of the world heritages, Angkor Wat is located at, has a major problem regarding to trash disposals and management. Garbage is being transported and dumped somewhere far away from the tourist spots.

The Village

Kumae's projects is in the village, called Onloung Pi which is about 25 kilometers far away from Siem Reap town. A village which once was full of nature, trees and rice fields has now become as famous as the name, "Garbage Mountain".

Goals and Purposes

Kumae

Kumae was established in August, 2013 to provide jobs in banana paper production as well as language learning opportunities for those who work at the dumpsite in Onlung Pi village, Siem Reap, Cambodia. We aim to improve the standards of living and education of the people there. Our work is not unilateral, but is firmly founded on mutual trust. 

Purpose of Kumae

Expanding Choices

"What kind of occupation do you want to do in the future?" Questionnaires were targets for children working at the dump-side. More than 90% of the children said "I do not know." while the rest said about familiar choices of jobs like teachers, doctors, farmers, working in the dump site. When we asked adults working at the garbage mountain, more than half said that "I do not want to work at the garbage mountain if possible". Because there are not many options of jobs in the village, working near home with family is often chosen over health and safety. 

Kumae's Projects

Banana Paper

Almost every items we use will eventually become trash or garbage. After seeing and being in the dump site, making earth-friendly thing is our big innovation. We are using banana trunks after fruited and being cut down to make natural banana papers.

Kumae Tour

Kumae tour is a educational experience toward the Cambodian local lives, history related and especially get involved in our banana papers making activities.

Japanese School

The Japanese school opened in August, 2013; there were about 90 students gathered and studied. After all serious teaching, test and commitment; 14 students are currently studying. We have established like cultural and educational visit to Japan for 10 days, passing the JLPT N4, and we are continually pursuing ourselves every day.

ASHI

ASHI is the mixture of banana fibers with recycled bottle fibers which results in a long-lasting, hardly torn, water resistant papers but has its uniquely smooth touch. ASHI is all handmade products made by Cambodian people and a original brand of Kumae.

Founder's Profile

YAMASE Takuya

Action is a message

Born in 1993 in Tokyo, raised in Fukuoka Prefecture.
After graduating from high school, I came to visit Cambodia for the first time. I was attracted not by the temples or the dump site but the people of Cambodia that I decided to drop university and came to live in Siem Reap. I was able to go and teach children Japanese at the dump site while I was working for a Japanese tour company. Teaching is not an effective way to have a big change, so I started to make papers out of banana trunks. Now we have 11 women from the dump site working with us. We have come to this point because each and everyone of us believe in possibilities and each other. Kumae, we build trust and trust is built by actions. 

Introduction Video