Her smile is heroic and her gaze profound - behind the two are a heartbreaking story, but also an inspirational journey. Tavi is a widow. Her husband died a few years ago and then her daughter. Both died from AIDS. She often wonders if her other children – an
older son and a younger daughter, will also one day succumb to the dreaded disease. Tavi, herself, is HIV positive. Since the death of her husband, Tavi has fought a constant battle to earn enough money to support her remaining family. But even the cost of food and school uniforms have left little margin. Often times she cannot even afford the cost of transportation to the clinic to obtain anti-retroviral medicines she desperately needs to prolong her life.
Home has always been a small house on stilts. It is simple, without electricity, void of running water, and unprotected – easily accessible to potential thieves to steal anything left unguarded. Her home is in the middle of two very different worlds. It is just a short distance away from “The Alley,” where a stream of raw sewage runs unabated through shacks comprised of corrugated cardboard and measly metal scraps, but also not far from large homes of the wealthy. Around her are the constant reminders of the disparity between the impoverished masses and the affluent few in Cambodia. This indicates the only thing Tavi and her family have, and have to lose, is one another.
Clinging to the love she feels for her family, Tavi has been compelled to find a way to make a better life- to provide food, shelter, and schooling her family. She is driven daily
to give her children an opportunity to create a better future. Tavi is determined to find
Phanya is 19 years old. She has been with the byTavi program since August 2010. She is married and preparing for the birth of her first child in April 2012 She appreciates the byTavi program because it is family friendly: she is able to work and make an income to help support them and she enjoys having Saturday and Sunday off to spend time with them. In the workshop, she likes everyone that she works with and likes that byTavi is a Christian program. Her favorite pieces to make are the quilted purse and the tote bag.
Riyon is 38 years old. She is married and has 4 children and lives near the byTavi workshop. She began working with byTavi in October of 2010. She apprciates the byTavi program because it has created the availability for her to work and earn money. Her favorite item that she makes are the nested cosmetic bags.
We are continuing to get pictures and stories of our ladies so that you can meet these incredible women.