Channa Stitches Together a New Life
Channa’s life was turned upside down by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The 32-year old mother had built a career as a garment factory worker. The hours were long and the work demanding, but she took pride in always being able to provide for her family. Though due to the crisis, like many others in Cambodia, her workplace was closed in an attempt to slow the spread of the highly contagious disease.
Cambodia’s rapid response to the crisis led to aggressive border closures and travel restrictions. Because of the ensuing decline in tourism, her husband was also making very little money as a motorcycle taxi driver. With three children to feed and rent coming due, Channa was struggling to find a new source of income.
In her time of need, Channa turned to ISF’s Employment Project staff for help in finding a job. During the conversion, they learned of her skill set. Our staff thought she was a perfect fit for a new sewing project at Chbar Ampov. While dubbed a ‘Sewing Course’, the project is more akin to an internship. In it, struggling community members are taught sewing skills and also earn money for their work.
For Channa it was a great opportunity to upgrade her sewing skills and earn an income again. While she worked at the factory, she worked on an assembly line, only understanding some parts of constructing a garment. Now Channa knows how to make shirts, pants, skirts, and backpacks from start to finish. “I’m so happy to be able to join the sewing project with ISF,” she effuses. “In the project, I get paid for each garment I make for ISF students and its partners. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to join your sewing project and for supporting my son’s education. Because of ISF’s support, my family and I are able to survive during the COVID-19 crisis. I’ll never forget their support.”
Channa’s son began studying at ISF in 2018. Each student’s family receives monthly food parcels. They include rice, soy sauce, canned fish, salt, soap, and other goods. During the Coronavirus pandemic, ISF has been providing these hard-hit families with extra food parcels as well as education workshops about the symptoms of COVID-19 and how to take precautions against it.