Ky Thoy, 37, is a model for VisionFund (Cambodia)’s 36 clients who has successfully used small loans to engage in new income-generating activities to bring a better life to her family.

She lives with her 13-year-son, Kan Kan, who is studying at grade 5, and her mother in a small wooden house in the rural village of Leang Dai, Angkor Thom district, Siem Reap province.  Her husband left her in write the year apparently to marry a new wife.

“My husband’s departure saddened me, but I also became more committed to earn income for my young son and old mother,” she recalls. “I farmed rice with assistance from my cow, made Cheal [a kind of traditional basket], raised chicken and wove mats.”

The subsistence farming had just mad her ends meet in a typical poor family in Cambodia. Ky Thoy’s household income and assets have increased significantly thanks to her access to VisionFund’s small loans over the past two years.

In early 2009, she borrowed US$100 from VisionFund to buy 2 piglets for husbandry purpose and raw materials-L’peak, a kind of climbing plant-to increase her basket production. In early 2010, she also used her second loan of US$100 for a similar purpose.

“Before the loan, I earned about US$0.5 per day from selling Cheal, but now my daily income can be up to US$5,” Ky Thoy reveals.

“Income from my pig husbandry also plays a big part in improving my family’s living conditions-better food and pocket money for my school son,” she adds.

Ky Thoy has used her household income to increase her rice paddy from 0,5 hectare to 1 hectare and buy some woods to build a new house.

“In 2011, I plan to borrow US$250 to hire carpenters to work on the woods to build my new house and buy zinc panels for the roof,” she expects. “Income from my pig husbandry, rice farm and Cheal handicraft will be used for repayment.”

Regarding her future plan, she adds, “I will start a grocery business. I will buy Cheal from other villagers to sell for profits. And I hope that my son will be able to complete education at a high level and get a job.”