Story by: Chheang Sok Mao, Northwest Regional Program Officer
During the last three months, Khuon Sopheap’s family had earned increasing incomes as they increased their bamboo basket production. With help from family members — especially her aunt, Rath Tong — they have been able to meet market demand. Some incomes were generated from selling their chickens and the vegetables grown in their homestead garden that weren’t consumed by the family. From these incomes, Sopheap was able to save US $50 to buy a bicycle for transportation and driving her children to school.
It was vacation time for kids at public school. Understanding that kids in the community should get additional knowledge in Khmer and English writing, reading and math calculation during their two-month vacation, Mr. Eat Korn — a 22-year-old member of the local youth group — volunteered to run a class to help the community kids. He had provided the class two times a day: English courses in morning and Khmer courses in the afternoon.
“Sharing and Caring and Training, Education and Communication of Heifer’s 12 Cornerstones values have inspired me to teach these kids,” Korn said when asked why he voluntarily ran the class for the kids. He added, “I teach them not only how to read, write and do calculations, but also how to practice in sanitation, self hygiene, environmental care and so forth.”
Sopheap was very fascinated with the class as it was the opportunity to make her children’s dream come true in education. She encouraged and sent her youngest daughter Yoeun Sophort who studies at public school in grade 3 to attend this additional class. Sophort went to the class regularly and was always punctual. She is very smart in reading, writing and mathematics. Sopheap is very happy with good result of her daughter’s study.
Sopheap has kept taking good care of her two pigs. She expects they will get pregnant in the next few months, and then to have offspring to pass on to another needy family in the community. She also planted additional gingers in her homestead garden for additional income. With deeper understand about family health and environmental care, Sopheap decided to borrow US $75 from the group fund to buy cement, bricks, metal sheets and pipes to build a latrine.
“The amount of money borrowed from the group was not enough for the whole latrine construction,” said Sopheap. “We, therefore, needed to look for small trees and bamboos from the forest to use as posts and support columns of the latrine wall and roof. I feel more comfortable since having the latrine.”
Editor’s note: This post is part of a series that follows the progress of specific families, starting at the beginning of their work with Heifer. Today’s post is the third in a series of quarterly updates on the progress of Khuon Sopheap and her family.