Empowering Women Farmers through Microfinance

 

“I, Im Sakheun, 57, live in Badak Cheung village, Spov commune, Ratanak Modul district, Battambang province, with my daughters, Kar Sokha, 25, and Kar Kim Horn, both of whom have quit school. My husband died of malaria in 1989.

Before the loans from VisionFund, my family experienced hardship. I did a little farming and dealt in a micro retail trade at the market.

We ate porridge in the morning. We ate with only smoked fish. I gave 100 Riel (US$0.025) to my daughter for her daily school fee because I earned only 4,000 Riel (US$1) per day. My small house was thatched and had leaks during the rain. I did not have any household assets, only kerosene lamps. My family used patched clothing as we had no money to buy new clothes.

However, credit from VisionFund has changed our living conditions positively. We have a larger corn farm and grow more vegetables around our house to sell in the market. We raise 30 chickens and two cows. My daughters and I share responsibilities in the farms and at the market.In 2007, I received my first loan of 2 million riel (US$500) from VisionFund to buy Prahok and Mam (two types of Cambodian fish paste) to sell in the market. My second loan of US$700 in 2008 was to grow corn and vegetables on two hectares of farmland. I used my third loan of US$800 in 2009 to hire a tractor to plow my farmland and employ labourers.

I currently earn 10,000 riel (US$2.5) per day from the vegetable farming and US$1,500 per year from the corn farm.

Our life is now better than before. Our house is roofed with zinc panels and has wooden walls: there are no leaks during the rain. In addition to sufficient food and proper clothing, we have many household assets such as a stereo recorder, a TV, a DVD player, battery-powered lamps, two phones and a bicycle.

My social role has also become more meaningful. I have joined my community to develop successful proposals to build wells and improve roads in the area. World Vision Cambodia helps me in these projects. I feel delighted to see my village with better infrastructure.

In the future, I want my daughters to have a regular business at the market. As I may be unable to work on the corn farm due to my advancing age, I myself wish to open a large-scale chicken farm because I have a skill in raising the birds.”