LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (April 2, 2013) Ley Savorn, a facilitator in one of Heifer Internationals projects in Cambodia, has been selected as a winner in the Students Rebuild Awards featuring Half the Sky Movement. She plans to use the $10,000 prize to open an agricultural supply shop to sell goods to farmers in her community at reduced prices, with proceeds benefiting local elderly, women and children.
Half the Sky Movement, created by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, authors of The New York Times bestseller Half the Sky, partnered with Students Rebuild, an initiative of the Bezos Family Foundation that mobilizes young people worldwide to connect, learn and take collective action on critical global issues. Winners of the awards were selected by a panel of judges and a public vote.
Ley plans to open a shop to supply fertilizer, agriculture materials and groceries to area communities. The shop will help local people eliminate middlemen and buy basic goods at reasonable prices. Profits will go to assist elderly people and vulnerable women and children in her community. Ley wants to see every child in the village go to school.
The daughter of a traditional musician and a farmer in the Battambang district of Cambodia, Ley became a community facilitator in Dak Sor Sor village, organizing 597 families into self-help groups for a Heifer International project. She helped participants establish group rules and regular monthly savings, provided training and guided project management meetings and periodic project reviews.
Ley has facilitated solutions to three domestic violence cases and two emergency births in the community, helped four families facing serious storms, encouraged two literacy participants to become literacy facilitators and assisted 10 widows to establish small businesses.
Ley currently leads a new cooperative of 120 families named "Poleu Strey," which means Women's Light in English. It became a formal cooperative in 2012 and has pooled $3,000 as a revolving credit fund. Ley strongly believes the cooperative will improve villagers' production and reduce the cost of living and that it will become stronger in the future.
What I want to see from my work is people in my community live harmoniously with dignity, have food security for the whole year, share their own resources to support lonely elders, liberate victimized women from domestic violence and assist women and children to live in dignity and prosperity, Ley said.
About Heifer International:
Heifer Internationals mission is to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth. Since 1944, Heifer International has provided livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of those who struggle daily for reliable sources of food and income. Heifer is currently working in more than 40 countries, including the United States, to help families and communities become more self-reliant. For more information, visit www.heifer.org, read our blog, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or call (800) 696-1918.