Rehash Trash is a Green Gecko social enterprise that makes stylish stuff from roadside rubbish while providing a safe place for disadvantaged women to learn a skill and earn an income.
Green Gecko strongly believes that the long-term success of each child is strongly reliant on having long-term solutions for their families. And so, Rehash Trash, borne out of a 'sustainable families' forum' led by the students for their parents, was developed to provide a steady income in a safe and happy environment for their mothers, women who had never had the chance in life to know what it was like to have a steady job that was neither degrading or dangerous. It needed to be easy - as some of the mothers suffer from disabilities, others from addictions and other symptoms of poverty and abuse - and it had to be cheap, with minimal or no raw material costs.
Rehash Trash, is a daily workshop that turns dirty roadside rubbish into beautiful household and fashion items. Sadly, in Siem Reap, the raw material is in abundance - discarded plastic bags can be seen everywhere, on the roadside, in gardens, rivers and fields. But we are helping to clean up our environment by collecting some of that rubbish and up-cycling it into useful and beautiful products.
Every week the mums also take it in turns to run smaller workshops in our own shop in central Siem Reap, giving them the opportunity to teach visitors the crochet skills that they have learned, which is a hugely empowering interaction for them. The women also have the opportunity to see their own products being displayed beautifully and being sold to the public, and they are delighted to receive customer feedback and praise for their work. They are involved in every step of the Rehash Trash process, from the collection and washing of plastic bags; to the preparation and crocheting of products; to promoting Rehash Trash in Siem Reap. Each of the women attend a morning workshop 5 days a week, which ends in an engaging Khmer literacy or English language class, where our mothers are learning the Khmer alphabet and how to read and write for the very first time, and to master basic spoken English.