A Whole Family Benefits From Microfinance


Keo Nantea has been bravely leading a seven-member family in Chok village, Boribor district, Kampong Chhnang province since her husband, a taxi driver, left her to take a new wife in 2004.

Her husband’s departure also left her with a debt of US$ 1,500, which she had borrowed from fellow villagers to repair his taxi. To repay the debt and feed her aging parents, her son, her sister, her niece and her nephew, Nantea rode a bicycle to deal in a small-sized rice business in a local market, about 10 kilometres from her house.

“My husband could not save because he loved someone else. There was much difficulty. I was in heavy debt. I had no capital to run a big business; I had only a little capital and I rode a bicycle to and fro in the morning and evening to sell rice,” Nantea tells of her past. “And I thought that for the rest of my life I would never be able to repay because I had so much debt.”

A small, but much needed loan of US$ 75 from VisionFund (Cambodia) in late 2004 delighted Nantea and allowed her to expand her rice trade. She could purchase more rice to sell in the floating fishing village of Chong Khneas. As a result, her revenues began to rise and so did her loan, which now stands at US$ 1,600. She currently sells tons of rice, compared to only a few hundred kilos of rice before the loan.

The 38-year-old industrious entrepreneur also raises chickens and pigs and helps her sister, Nary—whose husband died from AIDS related diseases, survived by a daughter and a son— engage in a small grocery in front of her house, in order to supplement their household income, which is between US$ 50 and US$ 75 per day.

With increased income and savings, she has bought a modern motorbike for over US$ 1,000 to travel to her business place and a new house for about US$ 1,500 on the National Road where she plans to run a large grocery business in the future.

“We are happy. Since receiving the loans, I have always generated earnings. We have sufficient money and clothes to wear, unlike before. And we can socialize with other residents, unlike before, and have a better life,” Nantea says jubilantly.

Nary acknowledges her sister’s business growth and generous attitude, saying: “VisionFund helped my sister transform from barely making ends meet to having a successful job. We have a house and household assets such as a motorbike. They have helped my sister a great deal.”

“My sister is kind towards me and my two children. When we need something, she buys us sufficient things such as food and clothes. And she emotionally motivates me as she knows I am not so healthy,” Nary adds.

Regarding the education of her 16-year-old son, Sobin, still in grade 3 due to apparent mental problems, her 11-year-old niece, Charya, and her 9-year-old nephew, Raksa, Nantea says she will always support those able to pursue their studies, but if they “are unable to study well, I want them to learn sewing and work at home.”