How to Change a Life

It doesn’t take a lot to make a difference to somebodies life.Spend a bit of time with them, show them you care, buy them some flowers….or buy them a rubbish cart !

Helping Hand was recently given a small donation by somebody wanting to help the poor in Cambodia. At the same time Chanthy (who coordinates the work of Helping Hand in Phnom Penh) informed me of a lady who was really struggling to make ends meet. Mrs Peak Nary is 43 years old and is married with two children. Her husband is in prison.Her daughter is 14 years old and her son ( who has mental health difficulties) is 10 years old and collects money begging in the streets; he will collect about $1.25 a day (.87 pence). Mrs Peak Nary will earn about $60 a month ( £42 ). This is not enough to cover her outgoings such as food, rent, water and a small loan that she took out as she did not have enough money for her last lot of payments. Money is easy to borrow in Cambodia but the loan sharks charge a very high rate of interest; Mrs Peak Nary, like so many others will just get more and more into debt and as with many other families will end up losing their house if they cannot pay their rent.

She is known as what is called a scavenger. She will earn a living by walking the streets and collecting recyclable rubbish such as plastic bottles, cardboard and tin cans which she will sell on for a small sum. There are hundreds, no thousands of these scavengers in Phnom Penh all working in their own areas, some working through the night as it is cooler and there is less competition from other scavengers. The down side of working at night is that there is more competition from the rats……….

Mrs Peak Nary had only an old pair of sack trucks to collect her rubbish with unlike most others who use a cart.In her own world there is no way that she would be able to afford a cart which can cost up to $100. The only way she could do this would be to borrow money again but that would mean getting more and more into debt.

But thanks to a generous donation to Helping Hand we were able to buy her a new cart. She can now collect more rubbish and therefor make more money and is better equipped to support her family. It may not seem like a great gift to most of us, certainly around Valentines Day, but to Mrs Peak Nary it was just what she needed….And this WILL change her life. Thank you again to for the donation and it was certainly no coincidence that the donation was given at the same time that Chanthy sent a report about Mrs Peak Nary needing a cart. Praise The Lord !


Mrs Peak Nary and her daughter…..and a few hangers on !

For more information on how to help people in the slums of Phnom Penh please see Helping Hand or get in touch at


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