Entrepreneurial at a young age

By Elizabeth W. Wilson

On a dusty road near Angkor Thom, a group of small children yell at the tourists that pass by. The eldest drags a plastic bag of water bottles to sell while the younger ones run around trying to get people’s attention. They wave at tuk-tuks and yell at those walking by. As people take pictures of the attractions, the children hold out their hands and say “One dolla, one dolla for picture.”

The question that came to mind was why aren’t these children in school?

Three times in the past two days, our group has experienced this. Whether it be at a temple or in the central market, young children as merchants swarm to us, thrusting things like scarves, books, t-shirts, or bags into our hands. When we say no, the price drops. These young merchants understand the technique of bargaining in multiple languages, while children the same age in the United States would be beginning to learn how to spell.

We have encountered these young merchants multiple times. As for the answer to why are they not in school? We still don’t know.


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