I first met Piseth’s mum the day she was released from prison. She’d been there for 3 months. A harsh place for criminals, an unimaginable one for a petite Cambodian woman wrongly convicted. In spite of her circumstance it was clear that she was a kind lady with a warm smile.
Having lost everything in the years of the Khmer Rouge, including her husband, this woman had learnt to survive. Like so many others she’d returned to Phnom Penh to try to rebuild her life and the lives of her two small children. While grinding out an existence at the city dump her leadership and her compassion quickly attracted a group of displaced persons.
A foreign businessman had promised the small community an area to live. Documents were signed and what looked like an act of benevolence quickly turned out to be one of betrayal. It wasn’t long before the businessman’s unscrupulous grab for land ended in an innocent woman’s imprisonment and a poor community’s upheaval.
After being released from prison Piseth’s mum set about caring for her friends all over again. That was over 10 years ago. Since that time 2h has witnessed the total transformation of this community of more than 30 families. Homes, jobs, education and good health are now the norm thanks to one very dedicated lady.
Today, Piseth’s mum is part of another 2h initiative, reaching out to some 600 extremely poor families. A new community hub will provide women with the opportunity to receive vocational training while at the same time earning an income. And in the midst of it, this special lady will be doing what she does best; caring for people.
Desperate people and a caring soul. It’s the perfect fit.