Media
26 April 2021
 
cambodia
Dreaming Big for her Family

As the sound of heavy traffic passing by the motorway announces the start of a busy morning, Sophin knows that it will be a good day for her family business. Her parents run a restaurant, whilst her grandmother sells cakes for the local community.

Sophin, just at the age of 9, is often concerned about the living condition of her family, as their financial situation has been affected by Covid-19 and their sales have declined. Luckily, as Cufa’s Children’s Financial Literacy Program arrived at her local school, Sophin did not miss a second to learn how she and her family can benefit from the program. Whilst receiving her lessons, she also wanted her entire family to see the world of opportunities a small daily saving can make.

Once Sophin knew about Cufa’s home visits, she eagerly raised her hand and asked Cufa’s field officers to visit her home. As her whole family, including Sophin are now financially literate, Sophin enjoys working more at the restaurant during her time off and helping grandma to bake some cakes. She has now become highly proactive in managing her savings and continues encouraging her beloved ones to save for the future.

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26 April 2021
 
cambodia
The Story of a Former Village Entrepreneur

In 9 years, children go from learning their ABCs to algebra, companies boom and bust, For Sophea, 9 years has Meant the time between her being in poverty, to having a sustainable business, being able to afford education for her children, and having food security.

In 9 years, children go from learning their ABCs to algebra, companies boom and bust, For Sophea, 9 years has Meant the time between her being in poverty, to having a sustainable business, being able to afford education for her children, and having food security.

Sophea’s family struggled to make ends meet, with her husband doing odd jobs and Sophea running a small micro-business to supplement their income. They wanted her kids to succeed in life, to be able to attend extra classes with their friends so they can get the edge in life they need. As her children were not receiving the proper education they required to progress, she feared that the intergenerational poverty cycle would never end; the phenomena where issues such as child labor, lack of healthcare, and malnutrition causing each generation to remain in poverty. 

Sophea joined Cufa’s Village Entrepreneur program, and thanks to a Community Investor, she was able to get access to training in customer service, bookkeeping, agricultural and livestock management. Through this program she was able to grow her business, overcoming the challenges that her family often encountered. Sophea was able to purchase the necessary stationery and uniforms for school and was able to give her children the extra classes that they wanted. This business provided her family greater financial security, allowing them to visit a doctor and purchase medicine when her family fell ill.

Overtime, she was able to begin to make material changes to her household and her business. She used her profits to help build a new house, featuring plumbing and private rooms, something so necessary but yet often inaccessible for many. To ensure her business would keep growing, she invested in her stall, creating more space to display her produce and goods, and was able to build a roof to continue selling during rain. This investment paid off, as during the current pandemic, though her husband has been able to find work occasionally, and she is finally able to lift her family out of poverty.

For Sophea, becoming a Village Entrepreneur has given her a chance, a chance for her family to get the education, healthcare, and food they need; a chance for her to grow as a person, and broaden her horizons for her future.

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26 April 2021
 
cambodia
Our Latest Social Return on Investment Report (SROI)
Cufa is proud to announce our 2018-2020 Social Return on Investment (SROI) Report, an exhaustive analysis of our programs and the social value achieved. When we first began conducting this analysis, the Social Return on Investment framework was chosen as it sets in simple monetary terms the social value our programs create. Overall, the report will demonstrate how in only three years our programs were able to generate $7.91 in social value for every $1 donated. A figure we are very proud of, despite the devastating effects of Covid-19 during the course of 2020. Within a short timeframe, we can already observe the impact on the lives of the people we work with. Through our livelihoods program, Savin was able to develop her micro-enterprise, which produced liquid soap for distribution to the local community. In addition, the workshops reinforced individuals with basic bookkeeping and retail management. As a result of the workshops and the peak of the pandemic, Savin was able to sell 76 liters of soap to her community. At Cufa, we believe that our newest Social Return on Investment report will demonstrate the power of our programs and the transformational change it has created in the Asia-Pacific region. We hope that you enjoy reading our latest Social Return on Investment report.
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16 March 2021
 
cambodia
A University Dream

According to the World Economic Forum, Cambodia ranks 124th out of 137 countries with access to Tertiary Education, and only 10% of the population has access to a Tertiary Education. For many, it is a dream that will be an insurmountable task. For Sophy, it has been a lifelong dream that for a long while, she thought she might not have achieved.

After finishing High School, Sophy had to work in the local rubber plantations, supporting her family. For many in Cambodia, this is a common occurrence, children working with their families from a young age with 68% of Young Women ages 16-24 are employed.

As part of our response to COVID-19, Cufa transitioned its Recycling Plastics Livelihoods Program to producing soap through Community Enterprises. Sophy jumped at the chance to join her local enterprise, in the hopes of earning extra income but also expanding her financial literacy.

“When I joined, I thought I had a chance to learn new skills and produce soap by myself, something I have seen my family pay a lot of money for. Now after the training, I can produce soap for my community and sell it at an affordable price”.

Now Sophy wants to make her dream come true and is actively saving what she makes from her soap business to pay for her university studies. She hopes to study marketing and hopes to be able to support her family in her future career.

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16 March 2021
 
myanmar
Putting the safety of our staff first

You're probably aware of the evolving situation in Myanmar which is taking a turn for the worse since its inception on February the first. We’ve needed to put the safety of our staff members and the communities we work with first.

Using a wait and see approach, we’ve suspended the project activities for the Children’s Financial Literacy Program and Livelihoods Program. For the DigiCUD Program, we’ll continue to progress the development of the online banking platform which is carried out remotely using Internet. We expect there’ll be some time before we’re able to return to the classrooms and to the communities we work with in Myanmar. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.

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16 March 2021
 
cambodia
From Young Entrepreneur to Storyteller

As the sunrise announces the start of a new school day, 12 year old Sina helps her grandmother in her vegetable garden, hoping to increase their daily income. Once she finishes her morning, Sina rapidly prepares herself to be at school on time, as she has been waiting to learn more about Cufa’s Children’s Financial Literacy Program. She knows that not only this will be a fun day to learn something new, but also she wants to pass on this knowledge to her most beloved family person, her little sister.

At such young age, Sina was aware that her daily expenses were too high, and that she was not able to save, yet she did not know how to save big with very little. Despite having some extra income from her grandmother’s vergetable garden, she felt the need to have the right skills and tools to grow. Once Cufa provided Sina with the five fundamental topics of the CFL, her view and attitude towards savings changed completely. “I started saving and now I’m planning to purchase a bicycle, books, and pens when I need them. Therefore, I don’t need to ask money from my parents”.

When Sina knew Cufa would pay a visit to her parents, she could not contain her excitement, as she and the Cufa staff could reinforce her entire family with financial literacy. Now she is proud to use her knowledge to pass it onto her sister and friends in the way of storytelling, which she narrates in the story of “Ronnie Riel”, provided by Cufa’s CFL Program.

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19 January 2021
 
cambodia
The Resilience of Credit Unions after a Disaster

On Boxing Day in 2004, a devastating Tsunami impacted the coasts of South Asia, Indonesia and East Africa. This disaster required international and domestic efforts to rebuild the affected areas. Following the immediate recovery period, Cufa worked in Sri Lanka to reconstruct and rebuild local credit unions. The Tsunami had enacted a devastating toll on the local credit unions, with over 200 destroyed in Sri Lanka. 

In 2006, Cufa worked with the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) to undertake the project, welcoming the expertise and funding Cufa brought to the project. WOCCU responded rapidly to the disaster, having an extensive history in Sri Lanka, conducting a wide-ranging consultation process with communities impacted by the disaster. By doing so, a plan was developed to rehabilitate and rebuild the credit unions. As part of this plan, Cufa conducted a monitoring visit, interviewing project beneficiaries across Sri Lanka. 

Cufa saw an enthusiastic comeback by the credit unions, with the credit union in Kosgoda seeing a 50% increase in membership. Their assets increased totalling R 2.6 million, up from R 1.6 million before the Tsunami. Cufa also assisted in the reopening of eight credit unions

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19 January 2021
 
cambodia
The Power of a Village Savings Bank

Chesa finishes up on the final touches of packaging her products in the early morning sun, ready for the day’s markets. Chesa lives with her husband and two children close to the city, but due to poor roads and public transportation, it’s a difficult commute. Because of this, it results in lower education levels in her area. Cufa’s arrival in the area allowed Chesa and her neighbours to study financial literacy and start up their own Village Savings Bank. This gave her community access to credit and various types of loan with training sessions provided alongside.

Before Cufa’s arrival, her lack of financial knowledge had meant that she did not have enough income to fully support her family.  By attending Cufa’s training session, Chesa’s family now regularly saves. Through a loan from her local village savings banks, she has grown her small agriculture farming business and expanded into livestock farming.

By working with Cufa, Chesa’s community has been able to cement a foundation of financial inclusion, allowing the community’s youngest the opportunity to grow up involved in financial literacy.

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19 January 2021
 
cambodia
Success with Chanlina’s Credit Union

Before 2017, Chanlina lived a tough life, as she struggled to make ends meet, working odd jobs in cashew and rubber plantations. Chanlina looked for advice with a local village elder, who pointed her towards a village savings bank (VSB) that worked with Cufa. When she joined up, Cufa worked with her and others in her village to develop their entrepreneurial and financial management skills, opening her up to the importance of saving.

Now she has been able to set up a micro-enterprise as a grocer in the local market, borrowing money from her VSB to buy her business’s initial expenses. After several successful years, she now generates around USD 300 monthly. She is now committed to saving, putting away $24 USD each month for budgeting or her husband’s treatment.,

For Chanlina, her microenterprise and the support from her village savings bank means she has been able to create stability in her and her family’s life. It has freed her from being constantly worried about her next payment and allowed her to plan for the future.

“I would like to thank Cufa for supporting and training my village savings bank and teaching me the fundamentals to set up my microenterprise. The money my village savings bank saves together is not only to support myself, but it’s there to make everyone in the community prosperous. I am very to be a member of this group” – Chanlina.

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