Cambodia’s famous Angkor Wat fails to stem poverty

A Catholic church is helping to relieve acute hardship in the tourist town of Siem Reap and surrounding villages.

When Por Pisey’s mother fell seriously ill, her father saw no other option than to sell the family’s cattle. Now there are only a few chickens and dogs walking around the yard of their small, wooden family house. Cows and buffaloes that provided income for the family are gone.

“We are so poor that selling them was the only way to be able to pay for the hospital bills,” Pisey told

Pisey, 22, lives and works in the town of Siem Reap in northwest Cambodia. It’s known as the gateway to the ancient Angkor Wat temple complex with world heritage status that draws more than two million international tourists annually.

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