Story by Dy Sitha | Program Officer | Heifer Cambodia
Photo by Huong Nita | Training Manager | Heifer Cambodia
Lang Sophea, 37, is married with four children—one girl and three boys. After attending literacy classes in 2010, she became a Self-Help Group (SHG) leader in the Kampong Seila Commune in Preah Sihanouk Province, Cambodia.
These literacy classes, which aim to empower women and reduce migration, are being implemented by Rural Children Saving Association (RCSA), Heifer Cambodia's project partner.
"Before, I could not read or write," Lang said. "When I wanted to know something I asked my family member to read it for me. I was just one of [many] illiterate women in the village."
It took Lang more than a year to begin reading, writing and understanding numbers—skills that are useful when selling rice porridge and raising pigs. "I am now very happy that I can read and write letters and numbers," she said. "And I can use my knowledge to teach my little children and help my family with our business. I record in my book what I spend and gain from my business."
Lang's acquired skill set caused fellow SHG members to select her as their new leader. She now assists her group by keeping records of their savings and credit activities.
"For the future, I will increase my livestock raising in order to generate more income for supporting my children's studies, and I will continue learning reading, writing and numeracy," she said.
Lang thanked Heifer and RCSA for establishing literacy classes to help women in her community. She suggested that Heifer expand the classes to other communities across Cambodia.