FAR EAST FASHION: Some of the bags made from Cambodia sacks
AN enterprising student from Newport is helping schoolchildren in Cambodia as his new business goes from strength to strength.
Aaron Jones, 21, from the Gaer, fell in love with Cambodia after heading out there in April 2011 to help work in a school.
The ex-Bassaleg school pupil, who now studies at the University of Essex, was so moved by his experiences out there that once back in the UK he decided he wanted to continue to help fund projects in the country.
With a group of friends Aaron has set up Fikay Fashion (Fikay means 'hope' in Khmer), a social-enterprise fashion company.
The company sells items including bags, wallets and purses all made from things like recycled cement sacks which are sent over from Cambodia.
Mr Jones explains that in Cambodia the discarded sacks can create a health hazard particularly when they fill with water attracting insects to live of the stagnant liquid.
Then, for every item Fikay sells, they donate between 5 and 50 bricks towards building a school.
The company’s "One Life, One School" project is run in partnership with companies in the far east and has already helped complete the first floor of the Mustard Seed School, with pupils now enjoying classes there.
Mr Jones, said: "I didn’t really know anything about the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot and the atrocities in Cambodia until I went out there.
"What the people of that country have suffered is unbelievable but everyone was so kind and warm and friendly that I couldn’t not want to help really.
"Fikay is all about social change and successful living without screwing everyone over.
"This is the heartbeat of our business. We exist not only to make profit but also to invest in the communities where our products are made." he said.