Youn Oeun, who is 41, lives with his wife Chhoun Dieb, 38, in Krous village in western Cambodia. They have seven children between the age of 18 and 3. Oeun is a construction worker and the family does not own any farm land; so, the whole family relies solely on Oeun’s daily wage of about $9 per day – which he only earns when he is hired, which is only occasional. By some standards, this is a lot of money; but, it is not enough to feed the whole family well or pay the school-aged children’s school fees. So, the two oldest sons left school and went to Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom Penh, to work; and, luckily, each earns about $150 per month to help support the family.
When CWS partner Rural Development Association started to work in Krous in mid-2016, Oeun volunteered to join with the Promoting Better Lives project so his family could benefit. To support the remaining family members’ food security and health, as part of livelihood improvement activities, Ouen received seeds, tools and some basic information and training about gardening adapted to climate change and about best practice chicken raising. He also learned how to cultivate mushrooms, then Oeun and his wife got to work building their home-based business on the land around their house. And, two years later, with CWS support, the family’s life is completely turned around. Now, they have almost no need to buy vegetables from others; in fact, they have surpluses to sell for about $10 a day, on average, which is enough to feed the family well all year round and to send the younger children to school.
From his own success, Oeun is now sharing his knowledge and experience, particularly for mushroom growing, with others in his community. After one training session for some other villagers, which CWS staff joined to observe progress in Krous, Oeun said, “I am so thankful to RDA and CWS for the support; I have learned a lot, and I am confident and happy with my work as a trainer. Now I do not need to worry if there will be outside work available for me; and, even when I do work on a construction project, I still have my home-based income, which is steady. So, thanks again for enabling me to stabilize my family’s situation”.
(For more information please contact MSophal@cwsglobal.org )