Disability As Big Business in Phnom Penh

One of the signs in one of the businesses that train and hire deaf people. Another sign says, "disabled artisans and deaf people."

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia– On almost every side street in Phnom Penh, there is a sign, sometimes several in a row, advertising massages by blind people. In addition to these ubiquitous blind massage businesses, there are also shops advertising clothing and accessories made by “people with disabilities.”

A sign in one of the businesses that train and hire deaf people. Another sign in the shop says, “Please support disabled artisans and deaf people.” Photo by Erin Moriarty Harrelson

If I see a sign advertising merchandise made by people with disabilities, I have gone into the shop to check out the merchandise and to look for people with disabilities on the shop floor. If I don’t see anyone with an obvious disability, I become somewhat suspicious; however, I recognize that there are people with hidden disabilities so I often rely on my instincts, based on how the salesperson responds to me and the appearance of the shop, as well as how it labels its products on the shelves, if at all.

I am all too aware of how vulnerable people with disabilities and deaf people are to exploitation. I am inclined to be wary of businesses that use the “made by people with disabilities” —> Read More Here


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *