BETHLEHEM – the UP market of the Cambodia Trust



In charge when I visit the UP market are two mature men, Ron and Tom. I tell them I’m surprised to see them as regular volunteers among the beautiful fabric and fashion items in the Cambodia Charitable Trust store in the Bethlehem Town Centre.

Dairy farmer Tom tells me the effect his cycling tour of Cambodia had on him. He talks of the shocking poverty, the glass landmines that cannot be found with a metal detector, villagers standing on the roadside to wave hello and local Cambodians wanting to speak English with him to improve their job opportunities.

Well known from its time at the Cargo Shed in Dive Crescent, Tauranga Waterfront, the UP market is the entrepreneurial fundraiser for the work of the Cambodia Charitable Trust – “Breaking the poverty trap – one step at a time” There’s a list of the Trust’s aims and there’s a separate promotional page for “Equity in Education” – a programme for the education of girls in Camdoia. The text of this page is direct and pulls no punches about the positive effects formal education can provide. And how are they doing all this?

There are beautiful scarves and pashminas, soft toys (unmissable snakes and turtles in red and green),mobiles, cots quilts, clothing for adults and children, aprons, multi-coloured shoppers, beaded bags and jewellery. There’s a range of vibrantly coloured and patterned “school bags” I think would make great summer satchel bags for big girls! The wooden temple puzzles made by a disabled Cambodian are smooth to the touch works of art. Tom’s walked round with me and I tell he and Ron that I’ll have to walk round the shop at least twice again to see everything that’s on display.

$10. provides a school uniform (there are examples of the simple uniforms). $40. supplies a teachers pack of materials. $60 buys a classrom pack of materials. $35. a month gets a girl an education. $100. gets a child a bicycle. $500. buys library books for a whole school.

In the coming months we’ll be thinking of corporate and family Christmas gifts. The trust says “100% of donor’s money goes directly to the cause they wish to support.” Think about the UP market and its projects when you’re thinking about your Christmas shopping. And hopefully you’ll meet the two dedicated sales people Tom and Ron. (Take a look at ARTmart, there’s some information about volunteering with the UP market.)

Rosemary Balu



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