Monkey Business 4

A Cambodian village is pinning its hopes on a seamstress and a cheeky troop of sock monkeys for a brighter future.

Writer: Paula Hubert
Photographer: David Field

Debbie Hall has become a celebrity of sorts in an impoverished Cambodian village where the locals sit in hut doorways and watch her every move with an equal mix of curiosity and excitement.
“There would be a chorus of Deb, Deb and the kids would run to me and then break out in laughter because I’d say something like g’day matey,” says Debbie.
The 49-year-old has been welcomed with open arms in Soksan, in Cambodia’s heartland. Leaving behind her comfortable life in Bendigo, the mother of three spends several months at a time working for the Cambodian Kids Foundation.
Her mission is a personal one – to help Soksan women. Laden with suitcases full of sewing kits, scissors and patterns, she has devised a plan for a new business making and selling sock monkeys…