This is the first in a two-part interview by Global Exchange Reality Tours Intern Sue Sullivan with our Cambodia and Thailand program officer, Boreth Sun. Follow along to discover what it means to be an in-country representative of Reality Tours and our partnering organization Not For Sale.
Sue: Could you tell us about your work in Cambodia and how you got involved with the Not for Sale Campaign?
Boreth: I started working with Global Exchange in Cambodia in 2007, for the first time when I organized a trip for a group of students from USF through Global Exchange. We helped students learn about the reality on the ground what happened in Cambodia, meet people, see people, learn from the people, share stories with people and all of that. That’s what NFS has been doing along with Global Exchange. I started organizing the trip one time and then after Global Exchange sent me an email asking me to continue leading the tours, help linking people with different agencies, different institutions, community leaders, government officials and all of that and the next thing I know I got stuck.
Sue: What is your current role with Not For Sale in Southeast Asia?
Boreth: I am the coordinator for Cambodia, helping coordinate all activities from the other side of the world with Alessandro Isola and with Malia Everette. Recently, NFS has asked me to help with some networking in Cambodia as part of their work in trying to access some quality material and products from Cambodian social enterprises. They are importing some (stuff) from Cambodia through a garment factory called, STOPStart. STOPStart I think is owned by Not for Sale and some individuals. They want to try to tap into some resources. So I’m going to help them for only the next several months to link them with the right people, custom people, licensing, tax people, legal issues and also help linking them with some NGOs that can tap into some quality sale products or just handcraft products; bags T-shirts and all of that. That’s why I got involved. So again, very similar to a Reality Tour, helping people linking to the right institutions, development agencies, community leaders, villages, all that kind of stuff.
Sue: Could you tell us a little about the work of Not for Sale in Cambodia?
Boreth: In Cambodia, NFS, really doesn’t have a lot of direct activities, what NFS does is through me in Cambodia linking NFS US with different hr NGOs to fight against human trafficking. Basically, NFS does this to link people with different institutions who are fighting human trafficking. My goal is to link them with the right agencies that are doing a lot of great work, but also helping Stop Start, a garment factory who is promoting Fair Trade and hiring some people who are victims or survivors of human trafficking to work there. I link them with different agencies like Nymo.
Nyemo is an agency, an NGO who is working with survivors of human trafficking to make quality products, handicrafts and different fabric design and all of that. NFS is linking with them now and tapping into their products to import them to the US to sell them in different parts of the US. Its not direct support but linking to the right social enterprises, to responsible enterprises to help promote change in Cambodia.
We here at Reality Tours are grateful that Boreth got “stuck”. We are excited to continue deepening our relationship and working together to organize broad educational tours, customized delegations and Not For Sale advocacy journeys in the years to come to Cambodia and Thailand. With our passionate partners all over the world, we are able to ensure that tourism is ethical, socially responsible, respects human rights, and is conscious of the local environment and culture. Thus we extend a special thanks to Boreth for working with us to “Meet the People, Learn the Facts, and Make a Difference”!