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Phearin and Samby have four children and one on the way. Financially it is tough for them to provide for the children. However, they have no choice but to send their two eldest children (8 and 11 years old) to work collecting rubbish to earn money to buy food.
Samby fell ill a few years ago with a fever and is now permanently disabled. This has been hard for Samby and the family to adjust to financially, emotionally and socially. They travel 20kms every day to collect river snails for selling, working 10 to 12 hours per day. After all costs are paid for they are able to tale less than USD 5 per day. They leave the children unsupervised while they work to provide for the family.
When Khemara conducted the community education sessions to introduce childcare centres to Koh Dach, Phearin and Samby were happy to leave their children in a safe and educational environment.
Through Khemara’s public health project the family also receive free health checks.
Houn Navy always dreamt of being a stylist. At 28, she started a salon at a small scale offering hair dressing and selling nail products. She earned about $2/day in profit, which was hardly sufficient for her livelihood. That is when she learned about Khemara Income generation program, and approached us for a loan. With good personal reputation and a sound business plan, her loan request for $120 was approved. Since then, she used the loan to expand and scale up her business – from wedding gown rentals to hair product sales – which drove her daily profit up to $10-12/day. On good days, that figure goes up to $25/day.
Through the year Khemara supported her and gave her business advice such as bookkeeping and pricing lessons, and marketing tools such as posters to attract more customers. She has made her last repayment and through additional savings program with Khemara, has received $72 back.
She now has the financial start to help her children and be proud of her business.
Kroch Savang is a weaver and can provide basic income of an average 2 USD a day for her family by weaving fabrics. When we visited the family, she told us about personal experiences with her children’s development and about the changes she observed coming with it.
When her daughter Korn Racsa attended kindergarten on Koh Dach Island, her elder sister Korn Thyda was already going to school. Savang says that her two daughters developed in very different ways.
Thyda only attended kindergarten for a very short time. Being at school now, she has enormous difficulties connecting to the group. She can not take part in a lot of exercises, due to the lack of preparation and education. Racsa, on the other hand, quickly acquired many social skills. Savang would therefore like to send Thyda back to kindergarten for one year, so she can receive the best possible preparation for school and is able to make the same progress as Racsa.
Savang told us that the Khemara’s kindergarten did not only give her child the chance to receive pre-education in the best possible way, but also empowered her in her role as a mother.
This is the story of Chhai Chhaelon, a 44-year-old fish farmer who could improve her business with the support of SEWOH and became therefore as a real success example among our Beneficiaries.
Chhai Chhaelon had always tried to get her business up and to run a small fish farm to earn enough money for the whole family.
Since she never had enough start capital and not enough money to invest and to start up her business, she tried to catch the fish from the adjacent river independently and thus build up her fishing farm.
Unfortunately, she was never successful because there was one fundamental thing missing. The knowledge of fish cultivation. How do you keep a pond clean? how often do fish have to be fed? which fish feed is suitable for fish cultivation?
In addition, Chhai Chhaelon has had surgery due to her constant high blood pressure problems and still must pay for medical treatment today.
With the project SEWOH (Food Security and Climate Change Resilience for Marginalized, Particularly Vulnerable Farming Communities in Cambodia) we support families and women like Chhai Chhaelon so that they get the help they need to set up their business successfully and sustainably.
The global project outcome during the project period from January 2019 to December 2023 is to improve the nutritional situation, agricultural added-value and the resilience of poor smallholder families in 60 villages by raising capacity and income generating practices, creating knowledge about climate change and resilience and improving the wealth of pre-natal mothers and mothers by informing them on care and health of children.
Chhai Chhaelon and her family is just one of 1032 farming families that SEWOH supports with their activities and her success story is incredible.
She received from the project 100$ to expand her generate income and thus, to buy the necessary utensils for fish farming. Furthermore, she received essential training on fish and frog farming from an organized expert. This taught her how to breed and protect fish, regardless of the rainy and dry season.
Currently she can sell about 100 kg of fish for 12,000 Riels per kg in a season of 6 months. With the income she is currently planning to expand her fishing farm by building another large ditch for a second pond. Fresh water is poured into the pond through the adjacent fountain. The water from the pond is used for the rice fields due to the nutrients it contains. This also supports the entire agricultural sector.
It is now her goal to share her knowledge and, as a successful example, to give the whole commune the necessary support that she has had received with the project. Therefore, she applied to become a member of CCWC, where she would like to pass the training on to other poorer families, thereby making a major contribution to the prosperity of her community.
Examples like the story of Chhai Chhaelon can lead to a behavioral change across the whole community and we are very happy to see the results of the project already in an early stage.
Want to join the Khemara family? Want to make a contribution to Cambodia's development? Send us your application.
Seeing local civil servants, I work and interact with, take charge of Cambodia’s future, motivates me to continue to work with Khemara. Working as Childcare center manager is exciting because each day I witness resilient parents and children taking charge of their future and leting go of their past.
Ms. Bun Seyla, Child Care Center Project Officer
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During my internship I had a high-level of ownership over my tasks, and had the chance to contribute to exciting projects with while working with local and internation partner organisations. It’s been a great chance to immerse myself in the operations of the NGO sector, as well as attend some great events. The skills I’ve developed during my internship have definitely improved my employability, and made me much more confident moving into my next position.
Gabrielle Vallières, France, Intern 2018-2019
We are always looking for skilled volunteers with experience to assist in building capacity for ongoing development within Khemara.
“The experiences I’ve had here will last a lifetime. The people I’ve met and the things I’ve seen have changed my outlook on my own life in a way I was not expecting. If you’re on the fence about whether to take some time out to volunteer, then I would tell you to take the plunge and come to Cambodia. You may find more here than you ever expected”
Nicolas France, volunteered in 2019
Cheque to be made to: Khemara
Address: KHEMARA, #189C, Group #8, Lou Village, Svay Pak Commune, Russey Keo District, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Account Name: Khemara Emergency Fund
Account Number : 2300-01-689983-11
Bank code / SWIFT code: ACLBKHPP
Bank Name: ACLEDA Bank Plc.,
Bank Address: #61, Preah Monivong Blvd., Sangkat Srah Chork, Khan Daun Penh, Phnom Penh ,Cambodia.