Diana Saw: Bag lady making lives beautiful
MANILA, Philippines – For years Diana Saw was at the helm of a multinational corporation in Singapore. But in 2006, a vacation in Cambodia turned her life around, prompting her to move there two months after.
During her stay, she witnessed a woman selling her own child. The extreme poverty in Cambodia left her aghast, as some mothers resort to pawning their offspring in order to get by.
"I was quite traumatized," she said. "What was the best way to help these women after the whole experience? Was it to donate $50,000 to an NGO or should I come and set up something myself?"
Donating her hard-earned money, it seemed, was just a pallative remedy. She flew to Cambodia to start a bag-making business and employ single mothers to empower them while making a considerable profit.
Diana's enterprise, Bloom Cambodia, was borne out of her life savings and desire to uplift the lives of Khmer women.
It hasn't been easy for Diana. She's been swindled by trusted employees, kicked out by landlords, got targeted by copycat bag makers, and was even threatened with acid on her face. But she remains undaunted.
Diana keeps soldiering on, even as she finds herself second-guessing the impact of her actions.
What drives her? Her fervent hopes for the Khmer women to never sell a single offspring ever again. "They know that there is a job waiting for them, and the children can go to school," she said.
This is brought to you by Our Better World, an initiative of the Singapore International Foundation – sharing stories to inspire good