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Monday, June 16, 2008

Women Inspiring Women in Cambodia

Pursat, where HOPE International Development Agency has worked for nearly twenty years, is consistently ranked as one of Cambodia’s “worst off” provinces. Basic services such as clean water, schools, and sanitation facilities are often absent.

In many of the Pursat villages where we work, rates of poverty approach 70%, and 30% of all families are headed by widows.

Recognizing the key role that women play in sustaining and improving family life in Cambodia, our work is focused on addressing the serious challenges women face every day. Our staff in Cambodia are women, and they all have first-hand experience with poverty and the challenges women face in the country.

Recently, we asked our Cambodian staff to tell us stories about the people who inspire them and make them happy to do the jobs they do. They did the translation themselves as part of their English classes, and here is what Chantorn, one of our staff members, shared with us:

“Horng Nan is a woman who lives in Prey Omal village. She is 39 years old. Her husband’s name is Horng; he is 41 years old. They have five children. Horng Nan is a self-help group member. Before she joined the group, Horng lived in a very small house. Her family grew a few vegetables for eating and did not have enough money to send their children to school. After she joined the self-help group, her life improved.

Her group was formed in January 2006 and has borrowed from a HOPE International Development Agency loan fund two times. Horng first borrowed $50 and bought seeds, then she borrowed $100 to buy more seeds and a bike.

Now she grows more vegetables and she has enough to eat and sell. With her extra income, she has saved to build a better home for her family and her children now go to school. She is happy and in the future she hopes that she will be able to buy a water pump to water her vegetable garden.”

Horng Nan continues to inspire Chantorn, and we are inspired by both!

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