We are so very fortunate to live in New Zealand. It is one of the reasons why we are passionate about extending our opportunities and resources to empower those who have less.
Cambodia is a nation that has been negatively impacted in many ways throughout Covid-19. Our sewing centre is located in the disadvantaged community of Dey Tmey — an area where a diverse number of vulnerable people live. The added pressures of the pandemic have created an even more precarious situation for struggling families.
Our sewing centre manager, Srey Leak, lives in Dey Tmey with her husband, their three sons and her elderly mum. She has been our manager since we began operations in 2013, and has a huge heart to see the lives of people in the community transformed through training and employment with ReCreate. We recently chatted to her to hear firsthand about the impacts on her family and community.
Earlier this year, families including Srey Leak's experienced a water shortage due to a drought. Access to water became more difficult, and instead of having their own supply at home it had to be purchased — creating a large but necessary additional expense. Once Covid-19 became of increasing concern in Cambodia, many people also experienced job losses as a direct result of factory closures. With little government support available, some families felt that they had no choice but to borrow money. Then Cambodia experienced interruptions to their food supply chains (a result of both the drought and the pandemic), adding yet another strain.
While staple foods such as rice, vegetables and fish are still able to be purchased, Dey Tmey locals are buying a little less than before and the prices of some goods have now increased. Srey Leak says that although it is hard, the people don't complain — they know the situation and that there is no other choice for them.
This is where our NGO partner stepped in. Based in Dey Tmey, this charity has been working with the community since 2007 and also provides the leadership structure under which our sewing centre operates. Seeing a huge area of need, they asked us if we could support them in a food relief project, to which we wholeheartedly said yes. Over the past month they have been able to distribute rice and noodles to 400 families in four communities, including those living far from village centres. Many people that they met were struggling with sickness and poverty, and are in great need. It is nothing but a privilege for us to partner with and support such a wonderful organisation that is consistently engaged with understanding and meeting the needs of their community in practical ways.
Representatives for each family receive rice and noodles in a collective distribution within the community. Many others received food delivered directly to their homes.