By Kheang Sokleng,
In October 2009, Tes Hen, her husband Meas Phy, and their three children joined the Strey Mean Samnang, or Lucky Women, self-help group (SHG) in Tropang Thlork village, Chantri commune, Rormeas Hiek district, Svay Rieng province, Cambodia. Their group is one of seven participating in the Improving Marginalized Groups Livelihood and Values-Based Holistic Community Development project.
Within a few months of joining the group, Hen was selected to be a Literacy Facilitator. In this role, she facilitates literacy classes to women members, providing numeracy and literacy skills based on Heifer’s 12 Cornerstones.
Hen practices the 12 Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development with her family before sharing them with her group. This helps her to develop and implement effective lesson plans. During training sessions, she encourages her students to internalize the 12 Cornerstones. “I want to be a role model in my group and community,” said Hen.
Hen’s youngest daughter, 11-year-old SreyPov, joined the SHG’s children’s group and said
her mother taught her all the “Stones.” “My group is named Yovakchun Ponlork Thmei, or New Sapling Children Group,” SreyPov said. “We have monthly meetings and a savings scheme. We save 200 Riel, or 5 cents, a month. We use our savings fund for buying books and pens.”
Hen’s husband and children love the Cornerstones values and mindfully practice them, especially the Cornerstone of Gender and Family Focus. Meas Phy said he is inspired by this Cornerstone, which brings peace, harmony and respect to his family.
Improving the Environment is SreyPov’s favorite Cornerstone. “Every morning, I clean my house and animal pens,” SreyPov said. “Sometimes, I help my parents bring animal manure to fill up the biogas unit. Since we have a bio-digester, my kitchen is clean and I can help my mom cook without being afraid of the house burning.”
Hen’s family does a great job living out the core values of Gender and Family Focus and Improving the Environment, their favorite Stones. With a strong belief that internalization of the Cornerstones changes people’s lives, they enthusiastically share these values with others.