OUR MISSION IS TO PROVIDE FAIR WAGES TO MARGINALIZED INDIVIDUALS GIVING THEM THE POWER TO BREAK THE CYCLE OF POVERTY AND CREATE RIPPLE EFFECTS IN THEIR COMMUNITY.
SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS
We all have basic needs-food, shelter and clothing. When these needs are not met, a person is unable to move forward in life to better themselves through education and employment. This keeps a person trapped in the cycle of poverty and makes them especially susceptible to being trafficked through bonded labor or as a sex slave.
Purchasing items that have ensured a fair wage removes the risk of trafficking and enables parents to meet the basic needs of their families. Once those needs are met, their children are then able to go to school and get an education. Getting an education leads to being employed, which then breaks the cycle of poverty.
Not only is the family then able to influence their community in the same manner, offering dignified employment also provides purpose and value as a human being. Many people in developing countries have great talents and are terrific craftsmen but lack opportunity for employment.
Purchasing fairly traded items or items made by a socially responsible business gives the opportunity for a person to receive a fair wage while being employed in a dignified manner. When you purchase these comfortable and stylish pants, you are being part of a positive global change!
CAMBODIAN HISTORY AND WOMEN
Surrounded by Thailand, Laos and Vietnam in Southeast Asia, Cambodia is still working to rebuild their country from the devastating effects of the Khmer Rouge led by Pol Pot in 1975. The Khmer people can be traced back before the 9th Century AD, settling along two main rivers-Tonle' Sap and Mekong Delta. They were peaceful farmers.
The country flourished for over 500 years during the Angkor period from 1500-1863. The country then became unstable as they were ruled off and on by kings, the Vietnamese and Thai peoples. The economy of their country began to thrive as well as their knowledge after 1863 when they became part of French Indochina.
Cambodia returned to monarchy after World War II and in the 1970's the country transitioned rapidly and had drastic social changes. This instability paved the way for Pol Pot to seize power in 1975.
The intent of the Khmer Rouge was to return Cambodia to an agrarian community. In their efforts they destroyed the education, religious and government structures. Worse still, they violently murdered about 1/5 of the country's population.
Outside of Phnom Penh, Women's Island sits in the middle of a river where women and children were taken during the Rouge to be raped and murdered. Years later, 80 homeless women were taken to this island to live in isolation as an effort to "clean up" the city.
The lasting effects of the Khmer Rouge and the most significant factor of poverty allows for trafficking to be a serious problem in this country. Children and adults are trafficked for bonded labor and sex slaves.
35% of the country lives below the poverty line. According to the World Bank, the GDP in 2014 was $744.88. That is a little of $2 per day each person lives on.
Six women living on Women's Island have been employed to fashion pants for hepz to sell. They are paid a fair wage for their labor which enables them to provide basic needs for their family. Earning money also reduces the susceptibility of being trafficked.
These six women relayed to me through translation how happy they were to have a job so they would be able to buy food for their families. Opportunities for employment are very rare because of their geographical location.
Some of these women are older, some young. A few have been widowed and are trying to provide for their children without the help of a husband. They are excellent seamstresses and having this job enables them to work with their talents and gives them the flexibility to garden and take care of their families while earning a wage making pants.