Choeun Seam and his wife Ra Aei are both thirty something, and their sons are 3- and 8-years old. Now the family lives in Rung village in central Cambodia but, before, when Choeun worked as a daily wage laborer they moved around to different communities to find work to earn a subsistence living. In addition to the hardship of an itinerant life, one impact for the older son was that he could not go regularly to pre-school, which is customary in rural Cambodia, or then to grade school. But this was a small concern compared to the results of an on-the-job accident when Choeun lost one of his legs in an accident.
Through regular outreach work among some of Cambodia’s poorest rural families, CWS staff met Choeun in late 2016 and, recognizing his work limitations, encouraged him to consider vocational training for motorbike repairing. He happily agreed, especially CWS could support him financially to join the course. Choeun is a quick learner and even while he is still in the course, he has already earned about $35 from his first motorbike repair job!
Reflecting on his success so far, Choeun said this: “Before knowing CWS, my family didn’t have enough to eat. I borrowed rice or money to buy rice and worked as a wage laborer to repay the debt, which meant I didn’t have any money in hand. Living in poverty was already hopeless, and life got harder when I lost my leg at work.”
Now, more than his earnings, Choeun has a sense of confidence about his potential and a new ownership over his own future. “I am so happy and proud of myself; I never ever though that I can be a motorbike mechanic, and I never expected this opportunity in my life – I mean to have skills and my own choice to run a service shop or to work for another’s shop,” Choeun told us. “Whatever choice I make, I know I will have a certain job to support my family and, besides, my children are now able to attend school properly,” Choeun added.
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