This is Sokha, a mother of four young children in Pursat Province, Cambodia. Until 2013, her family earned only $818 per year, mostly from short-term labour. Because of the family’s poor knowledge of hygiene practices, her children were often sick with preventable diseases like malaria, diarrhoea and typhoid.
Nearly half of the family’s income went to treating these illnesses, and much of the rest went to paying for the children’s education. She supplemented her income with high-interest loans that she constantly struggled to pay back. With little money left over, Sokha and her children often went hungry.
Then, with the support of Action on Poverty, the Cambodian Organization for Children and Development (COCD) established a support group for members of Sokha’s community. The group equipped her with agricultural training and small, low-interest loans to start her own farm.
How Sokha’s life has changed
Soon, Sokha was tending to a flourishing garden of morning glory, cabbage, and capsicum. The money earned from her garden went to paying off debt and even accumulating some savings. COCD also partnered with a local health centre to train Sokha and other community members in hygiene and health. This simple education program reduced her family’s yearly health care costs to only $81, a mere quarter of what they had spent before the project.
Sokha has since built a house for her family and plans to buy her own farmland. She hopes to expand her farm to raise chickens and pigs, and increase the variety of vegetables. Most importantly, she is determined to save enough money to send all four of her children to university. “Thanks to COCD and Action on Poverty for making a difference to the life of my family,” says Sokha.
Help another family like Sokha’s
Help us take action on poverty by making a donation to Action on Poverty. Sokha, and many women like her, will be forever grateful.