Chem Makara: Jiangsu makes my dream come true

Chem Makara still remembers clearly the ordinary afternoon four years ago when she received a recruitment advertisement from her neighbor, which has changed her fate.

At 25, she was from an ordinary family in Prey Nob, one of the districts of Sihanoukville Province, the location of Chinese-invested Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone (SSEZ). With ten children, her parents had to work hard and make a living mainly by selling vegetables.

Makara’s monthly salary was $250 when she started working in the Sinoproud (Cambodia) Garments Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Jiangsu’s leading fashion manufacturer Sinoproud. This stable income has made her confident in life. Then in 2018, she became the Staff of the Year of the company. This year, she was promoted to become a team head for her outstanding performance and her monthly salary also rose to $450.

With Makara’s brothers and sisters also working in the factory, the whole family has gained a better sense of security. “Before working in the factory, our life was very difficult and it has been greatly improved. After working for a year and a half, I bought a car. In the third year of my work, I bought a plot of land and built a house. I have a comfortable life with my husband now. Some of my brothers also bought a car, or built a house, and they all live a good life.”

Many families working in the SSEZ share the same story of Makara and the zone has made their life much easier. Hodo Group, a well-known private enterprise in Jiangsu, has led the development of the SSEZ in cooperation with companies from China and Cambodia. Today, SSEZ has become a flagship project in the Belt and Road initiative and also a role model for pragmatic cooperation between the two countries.

Now at 29, Makara said she hopes to visit Jiangsu someday because the province has made her dream come true.