By Ratha Ra, Administration Team Coordinator, CUFA Cambodia
I was privileged enough to accompany Jo-Anne Rice of Summerland Credit Union for a day during her recent trip to Cambodia. I spoke with Jo-Anne prior to her arrival and learned of her excitement to explore the wonders of Cambodia and have the opportunity to visit some of CUFA’s Village Entrepreneurs in Kampong Chhnang province.
Upon her arrival, Jo-Anne visited Tropaeng Krovan Savings Bank and spoke to its committee to gain knowledge about the history and operations of the savings bank and also local savings banks in Cambodia in general. Jo-Anne was very impressed by the Savings Bank’s ability to improvise with the limited resources and technology available in the country, especially considering the lack of electricity in rural areas of Cambodia.
As we walked up a dusty footpath, we were greeted by the cheerful smile of Sok Ly as she sat under the palm roof of her house. Sok Ly is the Village Entrepreneur sponsored by Summerland Credit Union. “I am so grateful and thankful for your support, without your support I cannot imagine how I would be able to get passed the difficulties I have faced. With your support I now can run my business well and have some money to pay for my children’s education and provide basic necessities” Sok explained to Jo-Anne. She added, “I wish you and your credit union have good luck for your generosity.” Sok Ly led Jo-Anne to see the chickens she is raising and showed Jo-Anne how she keeps her chickens healthy with the organic food she makes.
Sok Ly’s husband was unable to work since he lost sight in one eye, Summerland’s support has made a tremendous difference to Sok Ly and her family and have given her the opportunity to make a sustainable income for her family. Jo-Anne was delighted to see Summerland Credit Union’s Village Entrepreneur happy and successful.
Jo-Anne spent the rest of the day visiting five other Village Entrepreneurs in the district. Their businesses included pig raising, flat basket making, TV and radio repairing, cake making and coal selling. Jo-Anne was greeted with warm welcomes and invited to participate in their daily activities such as making flat baskets and feeding the pigs as well as traditional Cambodian cake making.
To all the Community Investors, we are so happy that you support this program and hope you enjoy reading about the great progress your Village Entrepreneurs are making each quarter.