Loy Koemsat is 42 and lives with his wife, Yong Chem, who is 40, and their two daughters in northwest Cambodia. Not too long ago Koemsat earned about 20,000 Riel ($5) a day for his labor when he could find work during planting and harvesting seasons and from collecting and selling crickets and grasshoppers in the market. Because he did not work every day and did not always have bugs to sell, the family often did not have enough to eat for half or more of each year.
In March last year, in the scope of the Promoting Better Lives project, a local CWS partner organization, Rural Development Association, learned about Koemsat and his family, and supported him to start to change his own situation. Koemsat considered his options and decided to improve his knowledge about mushrooms and his skills to grow them because he had tried his hand at mushroom cultivation on his own, but had limited success. At the end of his successful education and training, which he took too with enthusiasm and focus, Koemsat received materials for mushroom spore production … and he got to work on improving his family’s situation.
Recently, when CWS staff visited him, Koemsat had this to say, “After joining the CWS-hosted sessions, I used my new knowledge and skills to produce mushroom spores; and though I was not successful at first, unlike the past, I never gave up. I kept trying to learn from my mistakes and to consult with the trainer to improve, Now, finally, I can produce mushrooms to sell”. And he added, “Within 6 months I could rely on earning about 3.5 million Riel ($900) to support my family to have enough to eat”. In the past, with his old subsistence earning activities, if Koemsat had found work seven days every week for six months, he might have earned this much. But, of course, he could not have done so. But now, the mushroom business is running well and Koemsat is planning to expand his operations, which he has now perfected, and he can stop working as a daily wage laborer. In closing his success story Koemsat proudly added, “Our mushroom business has not only help my family to have enough to eat, but we can also send girls to school. We are thankful for the support to help us change our life condition – completely”.
(For more information please contact MSophal@cwsglobal.org )