How can a city full of plastic waste help at-risk Cambodian women break the cycle of poverty? Just ask Rehash Trash, an Intrepid Foundation-supported social enterprise that’s tackling multiple problems at the same time.
While most nine-year-olds were tucked up in bed, Yoeun Sophy was carrying her baby nephew along Siem Reap’s always-heaving Pub Street in a bid to make money for her family. “Some restaurants, when they saw us begging, they’d say, ‘Go away, go away,’” says Sophy, who’s now 24. “I felt like people did not see me as a normal person, they just saw me as a beggar. They were thinking we would steal something.”
From an early age, wandering the streets of Cambodia’s biggest tourist hub in the shadow of Angkor’s temples was a part of everyday life to Sophy. Her mother was ill and unable to support her three children, which meant the task of begging for scraps of change from tourists often fell on Sophy’s shoulders.