Ton Phat lives with her husband, Sok Din, and their seven children in Prek Pras village in Cambodia. Ton was a housewife who looked after her house and children, depending on her husband for income. Like many families, they didn’t always have enough food to eat and were unable to support their children’s educations.
When the “Improve Income and Nutrition through Community Empowerment” (INCOME) project started, implemented by the Rural Children Saving Association (RCSA) with funding support from Heifer Cambodia, Ton joined. Through the project she received 20 chickens and participated in several trainings such as the Cornerstones training, SHG management, gender and family, improved animal management, homestead gardening and integrated farming systems.
Ton used the skills and knowledge gained from her training to start raising poultry. She started out with 25 chickens (20 from the project and five from her own contribution.) Within six months, she generated $100 from selling her chickens. Due to her success in raising chickens, she began raising pigs and home gardening with the help of her husband. Four months later, she had generated $990 from selling four of her pigs. She also earned a daily income of between $2.50 and $5 from selling vegetables remaining from her family’s home garden.
“By joining the project and being part of the self-help group, my life has changed,” Ton said. “I have gained knowledge and skills that can help me to generate more income for my family and gain more respect from my family and community. I can now earn more than $2,500 per year to support my family and my children’s education.”
Ton has raised more than 200 chicks and five pigs, and has grown several kinds of vegetables such as morning glory, banana, sugar cane, chili and herbs. In addition, she has honestly and actively participated in all of the group activities, which led to her being selected by fellow group members to serve as a group leader treasurer. Ton now helps manage the group funds.
“My dream is to generate even more income for supporting my children’s education,” Ton said. “I am planning to increase the number of animals I am raising and to expand my home gardening. I also want to help my community members generate more income like me. I want to sincerely thank Heifer and RCSA for helping my community and my family. I have become a new person, and now I get to help not just my family, but other members of my community.”
Story by Van Nath, Program Officer, Edited by Keo Keang, Country Director, Photos by Dy sitha, Program Officer all of Heifer Cambodia