Sophea was born in 1989 to a very poor family on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. She has two younger siblings.
Her father fed the family with the small amount he earned as a cyclo driver (a tri-cycle with a carriage). Her mother was half paralyzed following a stroke in 1997 and confined to a bed, putting extra burden on the poverty stricken family.
Unable to support the family, Sophea’s father resorted to alcohol and physical abuse of the children as a means to release his frustration.
Sophea, then just 8 years old, was sent out to work washing dishes at private homes and restaurants. In 2005, after years of alcohol abuse, her father died.
At age just 16, Sophea become the head of the family when her mother passed away just 29 days after her father’s death. The children were left with nothing to live on and a mountain of debt accumulated through years of borrowing for medication, food and alcohol.
In 2006, Sophea was accepted into a sewing course at Kroma’s supplier, Peace.
In 2007 on completion of the course she joined the Peace artisan team. She started as a machinist, and through determination and hard work, Sophea become one of Peace’s most outstanding staff. She was promoted to assistant production manager in 2009 and is now the quality control supervisor.
In June 2011, when asked about her ordeals, Sophea happily responded: “It is sad to recall my life and what I have been through. It was tough – very tough in fact. I have done what I think cannot be done to feed my brother and sister – now they are growing up and able to look after themselves. Both of them will get married soon and start their own families. I am so happy for them, and of course, for myself. Now I am looking forward to working for my own future.”