With the wages she earned as a garment worker at Yi Da Manufacturer, a factory in Cambodia, Douk Sovann says she would normally spend about $10 a day on food. That amount would feed her and her three daughters, who range in age from 10 to 17.
Then came the pandemic, and business at the factory plummeted. Sovann was furloughed, and her monthly income fell from about $250 a month to just $70, between the $40 in assistance she received from the government and $30 from the factory. She had no choice but to cut the family’s food budget. During that period the four of them lived on $2.50 to $3 a day.
The family lives in Kandal province, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital, and Sovann, 39, cares for the girls by herself with her income from Yi Da, where she started working about five years ago. The factory produces clothes for customers that include international fashion brands. Gap, Levi’s, and Target are among the companies that include Yi Da on their publicly shared lists of suppliers. Sovann also knows some of the companies because, after starting on the sewing line, she now works in the warehouse and distributes the labels with their names to the workers who stitch their clothes.