Loan Prompts Woman to Initiate Business


Mom Len was engaged in a micro business selling Num Krouch (an orange-shaped cake made out of flour and sugar, popular among rural children), while her husband, Sao Vet, offered physical labour for wages and searched for gold, approximately 60 kilometres from the remote provincial town of Preah Vihear.

“We earned so little that we ate rice with fish paste mixed with Krasang [a kind of sour fruit, physically similar to an orange]. “If we wanted to eat a delicious meal, we would not have any rice to eat,” Mom Len said.

It would be necessary to increase household income, she thought, to enjoy sufficient food especially for her three children, Chandara, now aged 12 in grade 3; Sreida, 6 in grade 1, and Sreidav, 4.

Mom Len came up with an idea to change her business in early 2006 when VisionFund Cambodia arrived in her village in Romtom commune, Roveang district, where she noticed only few businesses existed.

Capitalizing on the situation, she applied for a loan of US$ 125 from VisionFund to run a grocery stall at her small wooden house on the National Road. The business, including sales of clothes, shoes and cooking materials paid off. Her household income grew as expected.

Loan succession—now standing at US$ 250— and growing income has improved her family’s business and living conditions markedly over the past years. Her grocery revenue sometimes amounts to US$ 125 per day.

She has saved enough to buy pigs, cows and chickens for rearing, and a rice miller, which keeps her husband busy at home rather than working for wages like before, though he still offers physical labour when he has free time.

The couple has built a large new wooden house worth US$ 9,000 just behind their grocery stall, which doubled as their sleeping space, and purchased numerous household assets such as a motorbike.

“We borrowed money from VisionFund to buy goods to sell. Since then, my family has experienced a better standard of living. I have a new house, pigs, cows and a motorbike,” Mom Len says.

“In the future, I plan to purchase more pigs. I want to borrow more money from VisionFund to expand my rice paddy and tear down my current grocery stall to build a bigger one,” she adds. “For my children, I want them to study until they get employment.”