Here at Friends of Koh Rong, we work and live alongside our beneficiaries. Many of our community projects could not be completed without the input from the local community, who join together with us to work towards a greater community for all. For most of our beneficiaries, their lives have changed drastically in the last few years. Until recently, many of them lived in a subsistence style manner, fishing the waters around Koh Rong and living the type of quiet life you would expect on a barely populated island.
Poor soil quality and lack of arable land means that unlike on mainland Cambodia, local families here are very limited in the produce that they can grow. Most people on the island make their living through fishing, or through labour. As in most of Cambodia, wages are quite low, however due to the remote nature of Koh Rong, the cost of living here is substantially higher than it is on the mainland, meaning that families have to make their money stretch even further.
The arrival and rapid growth of the tourism industry has brought many changes for the locals of Koh Rong, both positive and negative. Many people are now in a position to earn a much greater wage than they could have in the past, however many lack the knowledge to progress their career further, or to manage their finances throughout the low season.
Our organisation aims to help in mitigating the negative impacts of the tourism industry, and to enable our beneficiaries to stand in the best possible position to benefit from the changes that have arrived on this island, their home.