Pha and Sinet go to the PIO school. Their mother Sina buys plastic which she washes in a bathtub outside their home. For eight hours a day, she washes 15 kg of plastic bags and hangs them up to dry. She buys the plastic bags from a couple who gather them from the streets.
I don’t know what happened to my family. Suddenly our father wanted to leave us,” explains Pha. “He had met another woman. I had to cycle a long way on an old bicycle to go to his wedding. "I cried the whole way there.”
Before they split up, the children had seen their father beat their mother many times.
“I cried and tried to pull my mother out of his grasp. But I was a child and there was nothing I could do to stop it,” says Sinet.
Pha remembers life on the garbage dump.
“People looked down at me because I worked there, and other people at the dump would chase me and beat me,” he says.
When the dump closed, the family started to walk the streets with a cart, from four in the afternoon until midnight. There was a lot of trash to gather around the market. But people often shouted at them.
“Men asked for my number and asked me to come and sleep with them. I got scared and ran away,” says Sinet.
Every month, the family get 25 kg of rice from PIO. It makes a big difference. But the most important thing they get from PIO is education.
“I love my life here. We get rice, a bicycle, and school fees. In the future I’d like to be a leader, or even better, create an organisation that helps women like my mother. Or I might like to be a journalist, because I love reading the papers and talking to people. Or maybe a photographer,” says Sinet.