A life transformed, like scrap metal into jewellery
Srey Nao Thorn bends over a small wooden desk, a blowtorch in hand, as she concentrates on transforming tiny pieces of brass into jewellery.
The 20-year-old former child beggar has come a long way in the decade since she joined the Green Gecko Project, a Siem-Reap organisation that supports street kids.
But it was a broken heart a few years ago that put her on a path to learning a new skill, gaining employment and launching her own jewellery design label.
The reason she became a jewellery designer was “an embarrassing story”, she said.
“My boyfriend had just ended our relationship, and I was so sad, I wanted to run away to the arts school in Battambang to get away from him,” she said.
Her “Gecko mum”, Green Gecko co-founder Tania Palmer, took her to an exhibition of jewellery made from old ammunition to cheer her up.
“That exhibition was a jewellery launch by Madeline Green and Ammo and it was the night that changed my life,” Thorn said.
Palmer has watched Thorn flourish, from when she was a small child begging on the streets to see her emerge as an artist and businesswoman.