All in the Family: Cambodia

CWS Cambodia | May 18, 2018

Touch in his garden. Photo: CWS

Proeung Touch is 61 years old and he lives with his much younger wife, Vann Chhorvy, who is only 45 years old, but unable to work outside their home because of a long-term illness, which costs the family a great deal of money for treatment besides. They have four children, ages eight to 21, and the two older children do work as daily wage laborers, like their father, to help support the family. They live in northwest Cambodia village and, like all the other families CWS works with, to start, were extremely poor when CWS team members first met them.

As an unskilled laborer going from village to village to work for about 20,000 Riel ($5) a day – when he could find work – when we met Touch we learned that he and his family did not have enough food to eat sometimes. And, even with the older children’s help as wage laborers, they could not support the young children to attend school.

Because of the family’s situation, they were prioritized by staff from CWS partner, the Rural Development Association, to join Promoting Better Lives project activities. Because his Chhorvy is unwell, Touch joined information and training sessions where he and their neighbors learned new and better ways to grow vegetables, especially during times of increasing climate change. Fortunate to have a 1,500-square meter (one-third acre) land plot from his parents, but never able to afford seeds, and time, to use it, Touch could immediately plant the seeds he received through the project – to promote his own family’s better life!

These days, just 18 months after starting the change to his new way of earning a living, Touch can earn about 70,000 Riel ($17) from selling his vegetables and he is able to stop his daily wage labor – though his older children do continue such work. In talking with us recently, Touch said, “I thank CWS and RDA for all the support that enabled me to have my home-based work to support my family. I now have a plan to garden all year round and I am going to stop working as a wage laborer as it is not easy for me as an old man like me”.

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