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2011 WiLD Awards - Phy Thol
Edited by Donna Stokes, World Ark managing editor
Heifer's annual Women in Livestock Development awards celebrate standout participants from the four project areas in which Heifer works: Africa, Asia and the South Pacific, the Americas, and Central and Eastern Europe. Not only do the women chosen for this honor show great skill and perseverance in raising animals and crops, they also embody the heart of sustainable development: The transformation from recipient to donor, student to teacher, follower to leader. This year's winners, from Tanzania, Cambodia, Ecuador and Latvia, speak of confidence, financial independence and pride in their journeys of hard work and determination to succeed. To read about each winner, click on the photos below:
Grassroots Award Winner
Before joining the Heifer project, Phy Thol's family was the poorest in the village of Prasat in southeastern Cambodia. Her husband drank away his earnings. When the food for their five children ran out, she went to work as a hired hand helping other villagers cultivate rice. She had to borrow money at a high interest rate just to survive and provide for her children.
In 2007, Phy Thol joined the project after attending one meeting and learning about the 12 Cornerstones that are the foundation of every Heifer project. She received one heifer and has not looked back. She invested much of her time in the group's activities, and eventually the group selected her as a deputy group leader because of her initiative and strong management and financial skills. She is also a leader of her community's agricultural cooperative.
Today Phy Thol still has the original cow, which is pregnant again, and also has chickens, pigs, an ox and ducks. She was able to purchase land to grow rice to feed her family and to sell for income. Her husband's behavior changed, and he now helps take care of the animals and assists with farming and household chores. Their dream is to send all their children to university.
Phy Thol is a model farmer who continues to share her knowledge and experience in livestock management with all the women in her group. Through her leadership in her work with Heifer, she also was selected to assist the village chief with women's and children's affairs.
"Before the project came in, the community people thought only of themselves and worked individually, with little communication," Phy Thol said. "Most parents now send both sons and daughters to school and work together for community development."
Honor the Women in Your Life
Heifer International celebrates the independent, strong, loving and talented women we work with every day to help end hunger and poverty around the world.
Join us this spring in honoring your loved ones with a donation to Heifer.
Mother's Day is May 8. Pass on the Gift of livestock and training to help mothers everywhere provide nutritious meals and a hopeful future to their children.