When the Steung Meanchey garbage dump closed and moved to a new site in 2009, it took with it the meagre livelihoods of the local people. For many, the rubbish and recyclables they collected from the dump were their sole source of income. Without the dump, they faced total ruin.
We introduced our Community Loan Scheme to combat the rising tide of unemployment and abject poverty. After going through an interview and assessment process, loans at 1.5% interest per month are given to help people make repairs on their houses or pay off crippling debts, often incurred through illness. When people use local lenders they make repayments at a staggering 10% interest per month.