Hong Khoeun, age 55, and her husband Sim Kheang, age 60, live in Kam Prak village in northern Cambodia. They have a daughter Chrang in Grade 7 at a secondary school in a village that is about 20 kilometers from them, where she lives in a dormitory during the school week.
In 2012, CWS began working with poor families in Kam Prak to better understand their goals as a family and support their needs, the family joined us as a household partner, with Khoeun as the primary participant in CWS-led activities. Chrang was supported with supplies and uniforms, which her parents could not afford then, so she could go to the village primary school.
Like most household partners, Khoeun wanted access to information, education and training to improve her knowledge and skills; and the family needed money and material resources so they could start to improve their lives by having a better livelihood. Khoeun and Kheang set “running a small business” as their household development goal, and CWS agreed to give Khoeun a start-up grant of $35 to open a business to sell cake that she baked with all locally-sourced ingredients, including the flour that her husband milled for her.
Khoeun also learned more about vegetable gardening, and then received seeds and tools from CWS to start a home garden. Kheang was mainly responsible to manage the garden as a way to expand their income selling vegetables. Before too long, all sales – cakes and vegetables – were netting about $2.50 a day, and Khoeun used her new money management skills from the CWS-led training programs to make sure she saved half of their profits.
In 2014 Khoeun and Kheang opened a small grocery shop, which continues to thrive three years on because they make a good partnership for business as well as family life, which includes the possibility, with extra earning, for Chrang’s schooling.
Then, in the past couple years, Khoeun has managed the family income so well that they have saved $1,000 – enough to buy 1.5 hectares (3.75 acres) of land for cassava, which is relatively easy to plant and grow, and is in high demand. This new venture will help the family further secure its future, which is much brighter now than when they became CWS community partners five short years ago.
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