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Story by: Sok Nom, Project Coordinator for RCSA
Contribution by: Prak Somathy, Communication and Networking Manager for Heifer Cambodia

Since 2010 after joining the self help group Stey Akphiwat Reakreay, or "Happy Development Women," Mrs. Lang Sophea and her family members received not only physical inputs from the Heifer project, but also many trainings from which the household is able to use for increasing income and improving their standard of living. Late last December, Sophea had received another training on small business and micro-finance. After the training, Sophea has transformed this knowledge into real practice.

During last four months, Sophea sold two fattened pigs for 520,000 Riels (US $130) each. Her family allocated a part of the money, with some money loaned from the group, to start a small business — a grocery shop selling vegetables, fruits and foods. Sophea is able to earn a daily income in average of 110,000 Riels from the shop from which she receives a net profit of 50,000 Riels, or US $12, per day.

“Thank very much to Heifer Cambodia and Rural Children Saving Association (RCSA) for providing my family the knowledge on small business. Now we can get diversified incomes to support the family,” said Sophea. Last month, her family also took another part of the money from selling the pigs to buy a pumping machine which now has been used for pumping underground water to sell to villagers. Her family plans to expand this business while the villagers are more aware of using clean water.

Sophea gets up at 4:30 a.m. to cook and serve breakfast to costumers while her husband goes to a wholesale market to buy vegetables, fruits and other grocery things for sale. The breakfast is served until 8:00 a.m., and then she starts preparing lunch foods for selling. Meanwhile, with help from her children, she also sells vegetables, fruits and grocery things. Her shop is open until 6:00 in the evening.

“I had abandoned my illegal job in cutting trees and poaching wildlife at the jungle,” admitted her husband, Ein Dok. “We have created new jobs at home. We buy vegetables from market for selling at our shop. However, because now we have the pumping machine, we plan to grow vegetables to support our own shop.” Dok also plans to enhance the swine production as so far the family has two sows which are pregnant, which are expected to give birth next two months. The family also has a fattened piglet and 50 hens and chickens which remain from home consumption.

“I help feed the animals when my mom is busy at the shop because I have afternoon class. My dad cleans animals (pig) pens and troughs before we feed them,” said Sophea's daughter, Thearom. “Besides doing household chores after school time, I do my homework, which is assigned by my teachers.”

Though Sophea is busy at her businesses, she never forgets group works and activities. She attends monthly group meetings regularly, sharing her experience in animal husbandry and participating in solving issues occurring in her community. She also pays attention to social work by contributing some money to repair her village road. During this period, because she is an active member in the group, the group members selected her as deputy leader of the group.

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 second in a series of  quarterly updates on the progress of Lang Sophea and her family. You can read the first post about this family here.

Sophea holds pineapple that she sells in her shop.


Sophea prepares foods for selling and serving to her clients.


Her daughter Thearom feeds a pregnant sow with vegetable as supplementary.


Heifer Cambodia