Widow filled with hope

 

“Thanks to my VisionFund loan, I have enough food to eat, enough capital to start a business, to buy a rice paddy and cows, and money for my daughters to go to school,” Leng Chheang describes the changes in her family’s life since accessing VisionFund Cambodia’s microfinance services in 2007.

She borrowed US$ 125 to open her small grocery stall in far-flung Por Angkrang village, Korkor district, Pursat province, in addition to her existing rice cultivation and traditional cake trade.

The two existing occupations earned Leng Chheang only US$ 0.75 per day, providing inadequate funding to support her two daughters, 19 and 17, and her son, 28, who assisted their mother in the jobs. Her daughters, Sina, in grade 11, and Sinuon, in grade 10, went to school on the bikes of their friends, and had insufficient food and school clothes. The family of four had been struggling since their father left them to take a second wife a decade ago.

The launch of the small grocery began to fill the family with hope and inspiration to lead a better life. Subsequent loans reaching US$ 250 have aided the growth of their grocery business. They now make about US$ 5 per day and have increased their household assets by two cows and a hectare of rice paddy, compared to only half a hectare prior to the loan.

“Now, I have two bikes for my daughters to each ride to school. Hopefully, they will be able to complete their education and be employed in the future,” Leng Chheang says, adding that she is now saving to buy another hectare of rice paddy for her son, who quit school in grade 10, to farm.

“My son has low education; he works on rice farming. With rising revenue and continued loans, I plan to drive my business up and buy more rice paddy. I want my son, Sokhom, to get married soon,” Leng Chheang, now 48, says optimistically.