"We are rich because they are poor."
This new documentary follows three young Norwegians who travel to Cambodia and experience the lives of the garment workers who made their clothes. The series of five 10-minute episodes is both touching and heartbreaking, giving us a rare glimpse into the homes, factories and daily routines of those who make the clothes of major retailers, such as H&M. At first the three Westerners assume that the workers are relatively happy with their lives, because this is the only life these people have ever known. But they quickly become aware of the cycle of extreme poverty that exists, and realize that once upon a time, the workers too had bigger dreams for themselves - just like the rest of us.
It was a challenge for the production crew to locate a factory that would even allow them to work and film there, so you can imagine how much worse the conditions must be in the factories that denied the crew entry. It is our hope that this intimate window into the lives of millions of workers in the developing world will not only fill you with gratitude for how good we have it, but also encourage you to question your own shopping habits next time you are tempted by super cheap clothing and accessories. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
It's also important to note that buying from more expensive brands does not translate to improved labor conditions and wages for the people making their clothes. Most of the time it just means greater profits! So the more we educate ourselves on the brands that buy, the more we can make a meaningful difference!
To learn more about the experience of these three in Cambodia, check out their interview with Ecouterre.