Starting with Rice: Making Sure There Is ‘Enough for All’ in One Cambodian Family

CWS Cambodia | December 31, 2019

    Doeun and other members rely on Rice Bank support every year for the last few months before harvest time. Photo: CWS

    Bou Doeun, who is 46 years old, lives with her husband and their eight young children in Boeng Ahrak village of Battambang province in western Cambodia. Besides being an exceptionally large family, even by rural Cambodian standards, this family is landless. With help from local government and the Buddhis community pagoda, they built a small hut on their relatives’ land to live in. Like many poor people, the couple do not have regular jobs, which makes their family even more vulnerable. They make their living as seasonal daily wage laborers earning $12-$15 per day – but only seasonally – to support the whole family. So, they never have enough to eat and the children have no chance to attend school.

    Seeing the stressed this family is facing, early this year (2019), CWS partner, the Association for Development and Our Villager’s Right, joined Boeng Ahrak Village Development Committee members to talk with Doeun to help her prioritize the family’s support needs. Of course, the first was for rice as the family copes with food shortage almost all year round. So. the first thing Doeun was supported to do was to join the village rice bank so she could borrow 100 kg of rice which, in due and better times, the family will repay. But, in the meantime, she is saved from having to borrow money from a usurious local money lender and, with what little money she has, Doeun can buy vegetables, cooking oil and other food basics.

    In the coming year, CWS and our village government and local NGO partner will continue working with Doeun so she and her husband can be supported to keep trying for a better life. Doeun is of course grateful for the help received so far, and is hopeful that 2020 will be a better one.

    (For more information please contact MSophalcws@cwsglobal.org )

      Doeun with some of her children at their makeshift home. Photo: CWS

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