Small loan and widow
Bean Mao, an industrious widow with a 15-year son, Theara, in grade 7, has seen a remarkable increase in household income and occupations by using small loans from VisionFund (Cambodia) over the past two years.
Mao’s husband, a forest logger, died of malaria 15 years ago when her son was just born. She borrowed 1 million riel (US$250) from VisionFund in 2009 to purchase a plot of farmland to grow rice. The farming was added to her self-made Num Banchok (Khmer noodle) and micro-grocery business in front of her thatched house.
In 2010, she was given a larger loan of US$500 to buy wood to renovate her house and cover its roof with zinc as her daily income had risen by five times with her businesses expanding to pig and chicken husbandry.
“I previously earned only 6,000 Riel (US$1.5) per day from peddling the Khmer noodle and selling my groceries, but my daily income has increased to 30,000 Riel (US$7.5) because I have more goods for sale, I raise pigs and chickens and I do rice farming,” Mao, 37, explains jubilantly.
“Our livelihood has improved. We have sufficient clothes and food. Now we have money to buy pork or beef,” she adds. “Furthermore, we have bought two bicycles and batteries for lamps. We have a new house to live a better life. We no longer need to find plastic tents to cover when it rains.”
“Our life is unlike before when we even did not have enough rice to eat,” Mao emphasizes.
Mao plans to expand her business in front of the house by selling fish and more vegetables, to enlarge her rice farmland, and to increase the pig and chicken husbandry, hoping to generate more income for her son to go to university.
“In the future, I want my son to study in the university. I have nothing to pass on to him. I want him to be knowledgeable,” says Mao, whose hard work has inspired her son to do well in the future.
“I want to become a teacher. My mother works hard, so I will not disappoint her in my academic performance,” Theara resolves.