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Lakeside women turn entrepreneurs

Lakeside women turn entrepreneurs

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Boeung Kak lakeside resident Tol Srey Pau makes a purse at the home of community representative Tep Vanny yesterday.

Many women living in communities around the capital’s Boeung Kak lake who have lost employment after spending years shielding their homes from the impact of a real estate development have begun creating handicrafts in order to support their families.

About 30 women divided into four groups arrive daily to work in shifts on seven sewing machines in the house of former Village 22 representat-ive Tep Vanny, producing handbags for sale.

“We are hopeful and confident that our houses will not be lost. That is why we initiated to create some jobs for income,” Tep Vanny told the Post yesterday.

In 2007, local firm Shukaku Inc was granted a 99-year lease on 133 hectares of land around the lake for a real-estate development project.

After years of protests by residents, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced in August that a 12.44-hectare onsite area would be set aside for families that had refused compensation.

Local officials have recently begun issuing land titles to hundreds of remaining families, but some say they remain excluded from the resettlement deal.

Sia Phearum, secretariat director of Housing Rights Task Force, said HRTF, a charity in New Zealand, along with German development agency GIZ, had provided seven sewing machines worth a total of US$2,000, and another charity had recently donated $1,200 for more machines.

Representatives from GIZ could not be reached by the Post for comment.

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