Between the 16th and 18th of January 2018, Cufa hosted a three day Reflection Workshop that was financially supported by Asian Development Bank (ADB). As a part of Cufa's Strengthening Resettlement and Income Restoration Implementation (SRIRI) program, a majority of the 98 attendees are members of resettled communities - forced to relocate after the Cambodian Government decided to rehabilitate the disused railway track that they had previously lived on.
The workshop, held in the Kampot province of Cambodia, brought together social entrepreneurs from across the country to develop their business skills, learn more about funding opportunities, and to help establish a community that can share knowledge and experience.
Our staff in Cambodia spoke to some of the conference attendees to get a better idea about what brought them into the room.
Sean Thi lives in Poipet, a rural part of Cambodia close to the Thai/Cambodia border. As a producer and seller of duck eggs, Sean Thi was able to learn about the role of community in establishing and maintaining a successful social enterprise.
When asked what she liked most about Cufa’s programs, Sean spoke largely of the ability to work as a part of a group. “Sharing knowledge and expertise” with fellow attendees about how to build community and acquire funding for helping her business to grow has helped Sean continue to provide for herself and community back home in Poipet.
Yon Seyha is from Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. He is a youth volunteer leader.
Yon Seyha will take what he learnt at the conference to continue looking for a job; practicing his skills in communications so that he can be "ready to interview". He tells us that he has developed his understanding of what it takes to be a successful worker in a micro-enterprise, and feels better prepared for the realities of working as an employee.
The highlight of his experience at the Reflection Workshop was role-playing. He believes that the chance to step into someone else's shoes has provided him with knowledge about key concepts in micro-enterprise.
This is Rachel Mondo. Her goal in life is to empower and support youths from her community who have been severely impacted from the Bougainville conflict, where children and teenagers were unable to go to school for almost an entire decade (1988- 1998).
Imagine the impact of an entire generation that doesn't receive an education. How might this affect their livelihood? Their confidence? Their skills? What might be their capacity to manage a budget, or get a job? Rachel knew that the youth (including the now 20 something's) in her community were in great need of support and guidance, so as a true leader Rachel took matters into her own hands and built a training centre using her own resources.
When CUFA was engaged by DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs), Bougainville, to run the Bougainville Youth Initiative (BYI) in June 2015, it was evident that Rachel Mondo was a key local leader to work with. Spanning two years, the BYI program was aimed at addressing the education and employment gap born out of the Bougainville conflict, and Rachel was perfectly aligned with this cause.
BYI was the exact opportunity Rachel and the local youth needed- productive activities to pursue and specialised training to engage in. The BYI program included skills training, personal development, employment skills, and even micro-enterprise training to the youths could work together and start their own small businesses. The impacts of BYI were significant as more than 8,000 youths received training and education, with many youths gaining internships and paid employment as a result of the program.
Rachel was also supported by CUFA through BYI, enabling Rachel to join study exchange visits to other villages where she could liaise with and learn from other leaders and mentors.
We are proud and privileged to be able to work with and support people like Rachel Mondo who are creating positive impacts in their community both today, and for many generations to come.
Leonarda is 56 years old and lives in Maubisse Village, Timor Leste. She has four children and is works really hard as a farmer, raising animals and selling their produce.
Leonarda’s life changed when she began attending CUFA’s financial literacy training. Before the training, Leonarda didn’t know where or how to save for her future or her goals, but she soon learnt how to manage her own money through her local credit union.
Inspired by what she was learning, she encouraged her husband and her children to participate in the weekly training CUFA was providing. Soon the whole family started saving money in Hanoin ba Futuru Credit Union, saving about $50 each month.
Eight months after joining the credit union, Leonarda successfully applied for a loan so she could build a house. Amazingly, Leonarda has already paid off that loan, and then got a second loan to help her expand the micro enterprise she has set up in her house.
Leonarda is extremely grateful for the training that CUFA has provided her as it totally changed her life and enabled her to build a house and run a successful business, to better provide for her whole family.
CUFA could never achieve its exceptional results if it wasn’t for the generous support of our amazing donors, but also our committed and passionate staff. Let’s take a moment to hear from our Children’s Financial Literacy Project Coordinator.
Staff Profile- Phearun Pove
“My current role at CUFA is Children’s Financial Literacy Project Coordinator but when I started I was an office assistant. I’ve been working for CUFA for 9 years now.
What I love about my job is the field work- teaching children in the classroom and visiting the villagers. I also really like hosting overseas delegates. These are the favourite parts of my job.
My work allows me to gain lots of experience and I’ve learnt from different people at different levels, from different cultures. I’ve learnt soft skills and hard skills, and leadership skills too.
My goal is to attain a Master degree in Development Management. This degree will help me to perform my job even better in development work. I want to help my country.
My personal goal is to travel around the world to see more outside of Cambodia, so I can learn how it is different, and what I can do to help in developing my country.”
Srey is a mother of two who lives in the Kampong Cham province in Cambodia. She wasn't able to complete primary school and life has always been challenging for her and her family.
Srey's life totally changed when she joined our SEED program. Srey was provided with the skills, resources and opportunity she needed to successfully set up and run a small village business to generate an income.
Srey started a micro-enterprise raising chickens, selling her first batch of chickens for $231- more than Srey used to earn in many months. Srey can now afford to grow her stock of chickens and save for her children’s education, giving them the education and opportunity that she never had herself.
Srey's story is just one of hundreds whose lives have been changed forever via our SEED Project, which was generously funded by DFAT DAP program.
We would like to extend a big thank you to all of our amazing donors for your support, so that we can make continue making these empowering changes!