Editor's note: In Context is a new series designed to inform and educate you on Heifer's work in each country we have a presence. Every two weeks we'll tackle a different country and examine unique situations related to hunger and poverty, how Heifer works to address them as well as take some time to explore local culture and traditions.


Story by: Chen Dara, Program Officer, Heifer Cambodia
Translated by: Prak Somathy, Communication and Networking Manager, Heifer Cambodia

Photo by Chen Dara courtesy of Heifer International
Mrs. Deng Sou, 48, and her husband Bou Samet, 50, live withtheir five children in Thmei village, Kampong Sela district, Preah Sihanoukprovince, Cambodia. Before becoming a project participant in the Heifer funded Women’s Empowerment and Migration Reduction Project, in partnership withRural Children Saving Association (RCSA), Sou’s family depended solely onincome brought in from forestry and wildlife.

This job faced many risks including malaria. Sometimes, herhusband and son had to escape from home to avoid from being arrested by a WildlifeConservation team as poaching wildlife is illegal.
“One day, when my husband and son were in the forest cuttingtrees and trapping wildlife, villagers told me that a man had died because a treehad fallen down on him,” Sou recalled. “I was very panicked, afraid that itmight be my husband or my son. However, my anxiety disappeared when I knew thatboth of them were safe. Thank God!"

In 2010, RCSA introduced the Heifer project in the village andher family decided to join a self-help group of 21 families. Sou ’s familyreceived two piglets, three chickens, and vegetable seeds as a tool to improvetheir food security and income generation. She attended both technical andnon-technical trainings, including the 12 Cornerstones training. She is excitedto apply the simple techniques that she has learned from the trainings relatedto animal husbandry and management to develop their unused land for plantingvegetables, raising fish in their pond and applying a poultry bio-securitysystem.

Photo by Kheang Sokleng courtesy of Heifer International

As a result, her family saved enough money to buy a sow forreproductive purposes only.
Today, their sow has given birth to 10 piglets,which have been sold. Aside from the pigs, her family also has five hens, 20 chickens,and seven ducks. The family no longer spends money to buy vegetables, fish andmeat as they produce their own. Sou’s family has better nutrition and ishealthier and they no longer work in forestry or wildlife poaching.

Photo by Sok Nom courtesy of Heifer International
“Now, we have a stable job on our farm. Since joining theSHG, we no longer enter the jungle to cut trees and poach wildlife,” said Sou.“We have applied skills and experiences learned from the trainings to raiseanimals and develop our home garden and vegetable productions. The outcome fromhas allowed us to afford scholastic materials for our children. Thanks toHeifer and RCSA for your generous support.”

Author

Falguni Vyas

Falguni (sounds like "balcony") Vyas is from Atlanta, Georgia and began working with Heifer International in Little Rock as a copywriter in 2011. She received her master's degree at Istituto Marangoni in Milan, Italy and her bachelor's degree at Franklin College Switzerland in Lugano, Switzerland. She does not like writing about herself in the third person.