When Habitat for Humanity Australia Ambassador, Angela Catterns, first met Njor, it was in the slums of Phnom Penh in Cambodia. Njor lived with her children and elderly father in the only place she could afford: a small, poorly built shack.
The slum that Njor called home was built over the city’s open drainage system, right next to a rubbish dump. The loose floorboards that made up the walkways were dangerous to walk on, with some children even falling through and dying.
Njor told us that when it rained, raw sewerage and garbage would rise through the floor and into her home. Njor would be forced to keep her children safe by placing them in hammocks as she stood guard in the toxic water for hours at a time.
In 2011, Njor partnered with Habitat for Humanity to build a new, safe home in a peaceful village. The clean floor gave her young daughter space to run around and play, safe from the perils of the slums of Phnom Penh.
In the two years since partnering with Habitat for Humanity, Njor and her family are healthier and happier. Njor has learnt how to sew and is earning an income from sewing sequins on to t-shirts and selling them to a local factory. Njor has even begun teaching others in her local area how to sew, so they too can earn a living. Njor has also launched her own small business, creating fabric flowers to sell at her local market.
Njor says, “What I love most is the environment, it’s refreshed and we can raise chickens. We can plant vegetables here and the air is fresh. What’s more the house is beautiful, the toilet is clean and we now have good hygiene, we have good health.”