Ms. Chhoem Sokoeurn is a 55 year old resident of the Tbaung Khlar village in Ou Mreah commune. She and her family of 11 persons cultivate 0.5 hectares of land for growing rice, vegetables and to raise a few chickens. With these limited resources it has been challenging for Ms. Sokoeurn to provide food for her big family and to support the studying and health care costs for 9 of her children. Ms. Sokoeurn and her family grew vegetables for personal consumption only, she never expected to sell them at the market.
However, since We Effect started to operate in Ou Mreah, Ms. Sokoeurn has been receiving education and training on how to grow vegetables. Further, she and her family were also selected to participate in the farmer cooperative and Self Help Group (SHG). She and her family were keen to apply their new knowledge in their home gardens and to start growing cash crops.
Through this initiative, Ms. Sokoeurn and her family have managed to improve their financial situation. It is expected that each season they will harvest approximately 500 kg of vegetables which can be sold at the local market for $ 125. While some of the vegetables are still used for feeding her family, Ms. Sokoeurn has already earned a net profit of $ 275 from this initiative. It may not sound like much, but to Ms. Sokoeurn it is an important addition in the family budget. “The villagers like my vegetables, because they are organic products.” and “The vegetables are very important to us. Thanks to the extra income provided from the sale of vegetables I am now able to provide food on the table and help finance the studying and health care costs of my children.”, Sokoeurn said. Further, Ms. Sokoeurn explains that if it was not for We Effect she would probably not have been able to improve her financial situation to this level, and on her own. Furthermore, Sokoeurn does not need to borrow money from the SHG for buying household appliances anymore as she did before. Now she is instead sharing her experiences with growing vegetables with the SHG’s other members and farmer cooperative members.
When asked about the future Ms. Sokoeurn is hopeful and expresses her wish to expand the scale of her business by increasing the number of vegetable beds. Despite the challenges and risks associated with such an expansion, she remains positive about the future.