In March 2016, Sokhney Kean was given the opportunity to join Cufa’s Village Entrepreneur program and start her own chicken farm. The program helps participants set up their own business. This involves a constructing business plan, becoming members of a local village bank, and providing regular training and support.
We asked Sokhney a few questions about her Village Entrepreneur journey so far and this is what she had to say!
What made you join the Village Entrepreneur program? "It was very tough being a widow and having limited education and skills. I have two sons as well. I just wanted to support them and also fix up our house so it doesn’t flood every rainy season."
How have you benefitted from the program? "I have learnt more skills to run a successful microbusiness. The biggest benefit is that I can now better support my son’s education. I recently purchased two new bikes for them to ride to school and new school uniforms. I am now adding more soil around my house and building new walls to prevent flooding."
What are your plans for the future? "I would like to connect a public power line to my house to provide electricity for my family."
Do you have any last words? "Yes. I am very appreciative of the support. My business has really developed and it has helped me support my family. I just want to say thank you to my Community Investor."
To find out more or support a Village Entrepreneur: ve.org.au
As a participant of Cufa’s Strengthening Resettlement and Income Restoration Implementation (SRIRI) program, Torn Chanteth was affected by the Cambodian government’s decision to rehabilitate a disused railway track where he had been living. He now lives in one of the newly established neighbourhoods around Phnom Penh.
Due to Torn’s family situation, he was unable to finish his education and found himself working night shifts for low wages.
In February of this year, Torn applied with Cufa’s Vocational Placement Strategy (VPS) staff for employment assistance. He was given an interview with a guesthouse for the position of receptionist assistant. They immediately hired him and he was even promoted to a full-time receptionist in July!
This change has had a profound impact on Torn's life as he is now better equipped to support his wife and child financially and can begin paying off his loan. His manager has also been very happy with his performance and expanded his duties within the workplace.
Torn acknowledges that the help of the VPS staff has changed his life. He told Cufa, “I would like to thank the VPS staff. They provided the opportunity for myself and other affected participants to find jobs.” Torn would encourage anyone else in his community to seek assistance from the team.
Cufa works throughout the Asia-Pacific, focusing on education, employment, enterprise and developing economic institutions. The assistance that is provided throughout disadvantaged communities gives people a hand up, not a handout.
Last month we shared some insight into Cufa's Livelihood Enhancement for Economic Development (LEED) in Cambodia, by meeting one of the LEED project officers. Through skills development training in areas such business, agriculture and life skills, participants create an increased prospect to enhance income opportunities and enabling safe banking, and access to affordable loan opportunities.
Today, we meet LEED participant, Saren Kon.
Saren, please tell us a bit about yourself. I'm 35 years old, and am married with two children. I have a son and and a daughter.
Where are you from? My family lives in Krang Tamom, in Kompong Chhnang province in Cambodia.
What do you do? I am a farmer, and my husband and I also have a roof building business.
What would you like to achieve from being a part of the LEED project? I would like to learn more about micro-business and expand my current business.
Thank you Saron for sharing your goals and taking the opportunity to gain valuable life skills and knowledge through Cufa's LEED project.
The Livelihood Enhancement for Economic Development (LEED) project aims to strengthen the economic development of men and women across three provinces in Cambodia through education, vocational training and financial inclusion. It enables women and men, for their first time in their lives, to save and keep money in a secure place and access loans.
Meet Chanthy Chhoeun, a Cufa project officer currently in the field for the LEED project!
Chanthy, please tell us a bit about yourself. "I'm a father of three from Kompong Speu province in Cambodia. I recently started working for Cufa because I like the community development."
What's important about the LEED project? "I like the LEED project because it will transfer knowledge to people in community."
Tell us about technique and skills you use to teach and share knowledge for LEED? "I visit community centres to facilitate group discussion, teach learning through practice, role play, brainstorming, field visits and community mobilisation."
Fantastic! When you're not working for the community, what do you do to relax? "I like to read and watch TV."
Thank you, Chanthy Chhoeun for sharing your story and your work on the ground for Cufa's LEED project.
Success doesn’t come without support or training. Last month, Cufa organised a Village Entrepreneur training and study tour in Prey Moak, Takeo province, Cambodia.
Village Entrepreneurs from Prey Moak and neighbouring Takeo village visited a successful chicken farmer. During the study tour, they learned practical skills on how to build a good chicken coop, look after baby chickens, information on animal health, and sales.
Let’s hear from some of participants on the day:
“I’m really interested in the tour and love the chicken coop structure. I’ll talk to my husband so I can construct the same type of coop.” - Ms. Ray Eng, mother of two
“I’m very happy to see the farm. The owner takes good care of his business. When I am return to my own farm, I will apply what I have seen here.” - Mr. Him Sun, father of two
With low literacy rates in rural Cambodia, practical training methods including visits to successful micro-businesses are a very effective way for Village Entrepreneurs to learn how they can develop their own businesses.
Thanks to the generous support of the investors like you, these Village Entrepreneurs have the chance to achieve a sustainable business, and plan for a new future, free of poverty.