Day Labor


Ty, 7, sets a trap to catch vermin in his family’s rice field in Cambodia.

Ty and his family left their home in Cambodia seeking work as illegal migrants in Thailand. Life above the poverty line was the dream.

They skirted the border police for a while, but now Ty is back in Cambodia with his mother and younger sister, but not his father, who has likely gone back to Thailand for work.

The eldest son in the family, Ty is used to missing school, spending a large chunk of the day by the water reserve next to the rice field trying to catch fish for dinner. The third grader says: “In the future, I want to be a teacher because I can make money to help my mother and grandmother. If I make 200,000 riels [50 US dollars] a month, I’ll give half of it to my mum.”

To support the family and pay for his schooling, Ty chops cassava, earning about 17 cents a day, while he and his mother grow spinach to add to their diet.

Devoting so much time to family duties, which also include feeding the household’s pig, Ty has a poor attendance record at school even when living in his homeland.

Photo©2015 World Vision, Ratana Lay

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