Struggling for a better live
IRDEP-BB – Hong Srey Touch and her husband Doeun Dy strived against poverty for years after their marriage in early 2006, a year before LWF Cambodia started supporting the development in their village of Buo Run of Ampil Pram Daeum commune in Battambang province.
Touch, 28, started her new life with Dy with one hectare of rice paddy—a dowry from her parents—and a small plot of land for building a hut to live in. Without farming skills, Touch and Dy, who dropped school at grade 6 and 7 respectively, struggled to grow rice for their own consumption. However, Touch said, her parents took back the paddy to plant ricefor one year in 2007 in order to collect the yield to repay their debt.
To overcome the financial hardship, Touch set up a small shop at her own hut to sell grocery, while Dy, 29, migrated to Thailand to work as construction worker. But, he decided to return home 4 months later after a contractor did not pay him a salary. Then, he migrated to work on a corn farm near the Cambodian-Thai border. He was paid 15,000 riels ($3.75) per day from his work. In 2008, Touch’s parents returned her the paddy and Dy stopped migrating to work outside his village. They resumed their farming work and found additional jobs in the village.
However, their livelihood still remained a challenge.Touch said in July 2009, she was selected to join a partner household group—poorest households who get support from LWF Cambodia. Two months later, she was elected as Village Bank (VB) Manager. Then, she was trained about VB management and leadership, community development, human rights, farming techniques and other important courses.
“Before, I don’t know what social development is about. Now, I knew. I am very much satisfied with LWF/LWD’s program,” she said, adding that it taught the poor everything.
With a knowledge of micro-finance institution (MFI) management, Touch highly valued the saving system. “I started to have an idea of saving money now. Before, when I bought something I never get a small change, even 100 riels ($0.025) from the sellers,” she said.
Touch, who used to be shy and gutless to talk to the public, was empo-wered day by day under the support of LWF/LWD. “Now, I dare to speak more. I am not afraid anymore,” she said.
“Before, I always looked down on myself that I could not do anything. But, after LWF/LWD trained me, I can doit well now,” she said. “I grow rice and vegetables all over my paddy and home garden.”
In addition to her current position, she was elected as Women Group Leader in 2010.
“The achievements I have made as of today are greatest for me and beyond comparison,” she said.
In September 2011 she initiated a pig-raising project. She spent her sa-vings of 230,000 riels (about $60) to buy six piglets. Then, she borrowed $100 from the VB to buy pig feeds. At the end of the year she sold all the pigs and earned a net income of 500,000 riels ($125) from her project. Additio-nally, she sold 50 chickens across the year and made the same profit as the pig project.
Her paddy field yielded 3 tons of rice in 2011. As the yield exceeded her family’s demand for consumption, she sold 2 tons of rice of the total.
In 2010, she rented 3 hectares of paddy field from one of her village mates for growing rice. The rental fee was $160 per planting season, she said.The rented paddy yielded 12 tons of rice in 2011. She sold 10 more tons of rice and kept the rest for consumption and seeds.
Touch said combining the first and second sales of rice she earned a total net income of $1,971. As she understood about the MFI, she decided to open a savings account and deposit $1,900 at ACLEDA, a local MFI.
With all their efforts, Touch’s family now has big house for living. She has a daughter aged six. She will send her daughter to school next year.
Touch planned to raise six pigs and more chickens next year.
For more information, please, contact Leak Ratna (Mr.), LWD Communication Coordinator | E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org | Phone: 012 819 121