Hanging by a thread


When I was browsing elephant pants at the Night Market, Chamroeun introduced me to the variety of clothes at her stall to encourage me to expand my taste, somewhat.

I was impressed by her English, and took the chance to learn more about her trade. As it turned out, Chamroeun was also a Literature teacher.

She hawks her goods from 6:00pm to 11:00pm every night, then wakes up early each morning to teach Khmer Literature to children at a rural village. She zips between the city and countryside on her motorbike.


Her husband is also a teacher. He teaches Mathematics at a high school, and is studying for his Masters in Public Administration.

Chamroeun takes on the entrepreneurial role in the family by selling clothes, because she feels more confident about her English. While she’s manning the shop, her husband studies for his Masters. They’ve rented a small room in the city to work and save money.

Above these commitments, Chamroeun and her husband also volunteer at a Buddhist school. Parents send their children to the temples to train as monks. The children receive shelter and food at the temples, and are taught Sanskrit and Buddhist scriptures. This is a possible avenue for families who cannot afford to provide for their children at home.

Shopkeeper Stories is a photo-documentary of small business owners and their trades around the world, sharing their insights, stories and views. You can see all the posts on Instagram and Facebook @ShopkeeperStories



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