From “Not Having Enough” To “Having More Than Enough”

CWS Cambodia | July 31, 2019

Rin in his vegetable garden. Photo: CWS

Vann Rin and his wife, Khoeun Norn are both 33 and their two daughters are 6 years old and 18 months old. Rin’s elderly mother lives with them in Boeung Popul village in western Cambodia. Like countless rural Cambodian families, their main food sources, and some income, is from rice farming. Rin farms two hectares of land; but he has always struggled for his family to have enough to eat for three or four months each year. So, Rin often worked as a low paid daily wage laborer and sometimes he borrowed money at a high interest rate just to buy food. Because of their struggles, the family was identified, along with nine others, to join with a CWS partner to try to improve their lives. Since last year, the Association for Development and Our Villager’s Rights has been working with Rina and Norn to better understand their needs and hopes. One result is a community to vegetable producer group where Rin learned about diversified and sustainable vegetable gardening. Then, with a small CWS grant, Vin and the others irrigated a community garden.

With a sustainable water source and all he learned about better gardening Rin qualified for a small business start-up grant of his own. And, just one year on, the family’s life is changed.

Vin first grew cucumbers only on 400 square meters of land and earned the Riel equivalent of hundreds of dollar from just one planting cycle! Confident from this success, Vin doubled this garden size to grow other vegetables, including eggplant and two kinds of gourd. Rin is now harvesting his expanded crop, and he expects to earn more each crop cycle. Because of the community irrigation system, all families can now plant and harvest several times a year and grow their earnings. They can also feed their families with more diverse and nutritious foods, which is especially important for those with young children.

In sharing words of gratitude for the chance to join CWS, our local partner and his neighbors in improving their lives, Rin marveled in having gone from “not having enough to eat for several months each year” to now having more than enough to eat, plus earnings to save to pay for his daughters’ education in the future.

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