Friends, you are cordially invited to the opening of Jerry’s photo exhibit on Cambodian Kids at Work, at 6:30 p.m., Feb. 10, Le Popil Gallery in Phnom Penh. The exhibit stems from our project to document the ubiquity of child labor in Cambodia. Not only that, but the lives and circumstances of the kids involved. You will see no photos of the despicable child-sex tourism business; this project isn’t about that. Rather, it’s about the way in which child labor permeates Cambodian culture; the way in which the notion of child labor, such as it is in the West, largely doesn’t exist in a country whose people live on a dollar a day.
This has a great deal to do with food. In much of Cambodia, right or wrong, children simply are expected to work. Some go to school, some don’t, but many spend their days or nights dealing with food, its production or preparation. Kids plant rice, pick corn, hunt frogs, tend cows, shovel salt, sort through garbage at markets and sell trinkets to tourists at restaurants. For many Cambodian kids, having a job means they eat at night. Having a job sometimes means they eat, but don’t go to school. Some parents think it’s natural for a kid to work. Some parents hate having to make their kids work, but say the family simply wouldn’t survive otherwise.
If you’re in Phnom Penh, please have a look. Check our website for a sneak peek at the photos and further details. In addition, Jerry will present his slideshow on UXO in Laos at Le Popil, beginning Feb. 16.