Em Kimsour, is 38; her husband, Ros Samnang, is 41, and their four children are aged four to 13. They live in Choam Ksant village in northern Cambodia, where they are subsistence farmers. Though the family is poor, the older children are lucky enough to attend school – even though it has been a struggle to keep up with the fees. But, now this is changing, along with other family circumstances, thanks to the family’s partnership with CWS.
Until recently, the family relied on Kimsour’s average earnings of less than 25,000 Riel ($6) a day from selling rice porridge. This situation was partly because the couple could not manage their small farm plot productively. Without enough water, fertilizer or vegetable seeds to add to their small rice crop, they did not raise enough basic foods to feed the family after making the porridge to sell. So, they had to buy, or borrow, even the basics. Still, they prioritized the children’s schooling, which is often one of the first things poor families don’t manage.
On seeing the family’s challenges, back in 2017, CWS invited Kimsour and Samnang to work with us in our efforts to promote better lives for and with families in rural Cambodia. Immediately, they took the offer and Kimsour joined others to learn about cost-effect vegetable gardening adapted for limited water and for climate change – especially increasing drought. Along with education and training, there was material support for irrigation and seeds. Kimsour applied what she learned, including how to make natural fertilizer, to her gardening. And the results have been good.
In addition to being able to make nutritious meals with a variety of fresh vegetables her family, the increased income from selling surplus vegetable allows her to buy good quality rice and other food. Now the family’s net income is about 1,215,000 Riel per harvest. This can add up to about $900 each year on average.
So, with their morning porridge business still going well, Kimsour and Samnang have saved some money to expand the vegetable garden and start to raise fish too. “My family’s situation is getting better”, Kimsour tells us. “I have added knowledge about better vegetable growing and compost making and as a result I have added income from selling them! Now my husband has learned to raise fish; we hope that we will have fish to sell soon to increase our income even more”. As CWS staff were leaving Kimsour’s house recently, she said, “I am proud with this work and thank CWS for such great support”. The CWS Cambodia team is proud too!
(For more information please contact MSophalcws@cwsglobal.org )