Editor's note: The story and photos below were submitted by Nou Samnang, a program officer for Heifer Cambodia.
Son Sinath and her family received the 2012 Golden Talent Award in Cambodia in a ceremony on December 28, 2012, in Dak Sorsor village, O'Mal commune, Battambang city, Battambang province. The joyful event was attended by self-help group (SHG) members, the commune chief, the village chief, project management committee members, Heifer Cambodia staff, Akphiwat Strey (AS) representatives, and the Agricultural Development Cooperative (ADC) advisory board. Through Heifer's Women Empowerment and Holistic Community Development project, Sinath's family received ducks, seeds and fruit trees to develop their homestead garden. They have used the knowledge, skills and experiences from Heifer's trainings to propel them forward, transforming their gifts into sustainable sources of income. Heifer International Foundation provided the $1,000 cash award, $200 of which was given to Sinath. The remaining $800 went to the SHG for a community benefit project.
Our community has reached great achievements over the past three years, after joining the Heifer project, working together to reach our goal and improve our families standard of living, said Lai Savorn, a community facilitator for the project and ADC leader. Our community members are very proud of receiving the GTA in the name of Sinath, who is also a part of the ADC. The award is an impetus for our community to work harder to develop our community resources. We will use this award to expand businesses in our cooperative.
This great award is an honor, not only for Sinath, but also for AS, the whole community and the local authorities of all levels who sacrifice for and support the Heifer-funded project implementation to be successful, said Thaong Thavrin, executive director of AS, to ceremony participants. I would like to express my deep thanks to Heifer for its partnership and support."
Chhem Ty, the community chief, gave a speech at the award ceremony. He said he was very inspired by the development, harmony and solidarity that the people in his community have achieved with assistance from Heifer in partnership with AS. Chhem Ty said that the ceremony was a testimony of the endeavors of the SHG members and womens empowerment, as well as the strong collaboration between local authorities and civil society organizations. He encouraged community members to work harder to receive even more successes.
My family is very happy to receive the award that we had never dreamed before, said Sinath. We always regard Heifer and the AS as our second parents. They help us to help ourselves through providing both material and mental support. My family will use this award to enhance our swine production and dry-season rice to get more income.
In July 2009, Sinaths family joined the Heifer-funded Women Empowerment and Holistic Community Development project. They received 10 ducks (nine female and one male), and a month later they were given seeds (string beans, morning glory, and eggplant) and fruit trees (mango and grapefruit). In June 2011, Sinath sold some of her ducks and chickens to buy two pregnant sows. One of her sows is still pregnant, and the other has produced 10 piglets. She found the animal management training helpful, especially in swine production, as she expanded her farm. In November and December of 2012 she earned 3,750,000 Riels, or about $940, from selling pigs and 200,000 Riels, or about $50, from selling poultry.
Sinath has completed her Passing on the Gift® (POG) obligation. In addition to animals and resources, she passed on valuable training, care and love to families in need. Beyond the POG, Sinath donated vegetable seeds and 10 chickens to her neighbors and contributed to a fund to help build a road and school in her village. I think POG was the best activity in my life," she said. "I was so excited and happy to pass on (the gift) that I cried."