Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - First solar tuk-tuk helps women get off dumps

First solar tuk-tuk helps women get off dumps

The Aziza’s Coffee solar-powered cart.
The Aziza’s Coffee solar-powered cart. Eli Meixler

First solar tuk-tuk helps women get off dumps

Cambodia’s first solar-powered tuk-tuk has hit the streets of Phnom Penh.

NGO Aziza’s Place last month started using the vehicle – which was manufactured in Cambodia by Australian company Star 8 – as a coffee cart, employing women who used to work on hazardous rubbish dumps.

The sky blue Aziza’s Coffee cart can be found in Tuol Tom Poung on Street 155, between streets 454 and 456, offering iced coffee and tea, banana bread, tasty banana leaf noodle salad and refreshing ginger and lime juice.

“Our choice was to pay more up front and virtually nothing afterwards and take an opportunity to be creative and green, or pay less up front and be faced with further running costs and look like all the other coffee tuk-tuks, which pump carbon emissions into an already polluted city,” said Aziza’s Place spokeswoman Aimee Cheung.

Coffee cart worker Win Soeun.
Coffee cart worker Win Soeun. Eli Meixler

The tuk-tuk’s solar panels sit on top of the roof and charge five lead-acid batteries. It takes six to eight hours to fully charge the batteries, and the tuk-tuk can do about 80 kilometres to 100 kilometres depending on the load.

A single tuk-tuk employs three women, with two serving customers from the vehicle and one working in the kitchen. On average, each employee should make about $200 per month.

One of the employees is single mother of five Win Soeun, 40, who used to collect recycling on a dump site and often didn’t have enough money to feed her family.

“I’ve got a better job now. I’m so happy; I’m so proud of myself,” she said.

Not only is Aziza’s Coffee powered by the sun, but the cart also uses paper instead of plastic cups and offers a 500 riel discount in exchange for plastic bottles and aluminium cans to be recycled.

Eventually, Aziza’s Place hopes to expand the number of solar-powered coffee carts to employ even more women. The goal was to have a micro-franchising model where employees owned their own Aziza’s Coffee franchise, Cheung said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Draft law on state of emergency pending finalisation

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will lead a top-level meeting on Tuesdays to review the draft law on imposing a state of emergency. Meantime, he has decided to close all casinos in Cambodia effective April 1. In the press conference after the National Assembly met today, Hun

  • State of emergency on table amid pandemic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, his deputy prime ministers and legal team will meet on Tuesday to review the draft law on declaring a state of emergency, as Covid-19 cases rose to 107 in the Kingdom on Monday. Speaking at a press conference after a parliament meeting

  • Stranded passengers petition UK for help

    Some 10,521 people have signed an online petition calling on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and relevant officials to fly nearly 200 passengers out of Cambodia. The petition is targeted at 15,000 people. Most of the passengers are British nationals, who are stranded in Cambodia after airlines cancelled

  • Many in limbo as tension heightens

    As the Kingdom restricts travel and prepares for a state of emergency, some foreigners in Cambodia are scrambling for a way home. Foreign embassies in Phnom Penh are making efforts to get their citizens out, but cancelled flights have become common due to the coronavirus

  • Covid-19 Pandemic: Force majeure and legal consequences

    Is the Covid-19 pandemic considered an event of force majeure? The World Health Organisation declared the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak a pandemic on March 11. Following this declaration, the Ministry of Health and other ministries have taken various legal and administrative measures to prevent the rapid

  • State of emergency draft law set for NA

    A draft law aiming to place the Kingdom in a state of emergency amid the Covid-19 pandemic is set for a debate at the National Assembly (NA) after going through the Council of Ministers’ Standing Committee meeting led by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday.