Boeung Kak, once a tourist attraction and home to thousands of Cambodians is now filled in to develop residential and commercial buildings.

Land values in Cambodia and especially in Phnom Penh have skyrocketed over the past few years. Many poor urban communities that have been living in crowded pockets of the city for years or decades, now find themselves occupying prime land. Many of them are eligible for land titles under the current land laws but because rule of law is a fiction here, many if not most of them are facing eviction. Or have already been evicted. Forced evictions or deconstruction of residential areas occur regularly across the country. One area in particular that is effected is Boeung Kak.

Boeung Kak is the largest natural lake in phnom penh lake was once in the center of urban Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It was once a residential area for around nine villages surrounding the lake, in which around over 4000 families lived. Not only did the lake act as a source of food and income generation for the locals but also played a fundamental role in the city’s main drainage system.

In 2008 Boeung Kak lake began being filled in order to make room for the construction of residential and commercial buildings. Filling in the lake caused serious flooding in the surrounding villages, leading many families to pack up and leave because their homes became uninhabitable.

 

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Homes of Boeung Kak’s Village effected by flooding

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Cambodia Knits decided to establish its first knitting workshop at Boueng Kak to meet the employment needs of the community members who remain in surrounding villages. Partnering with VOICE, a humanitarian organisation in the area, we have managed to gain interest within the community and held our first training programme in September of 2015.