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It's Never Too Late To Change

WRITTEN BY ERYN AUSTIN BERGEN


If you’re in your twenties, you probably think your life ends at 30. If you’re in your thirties, you keep telling yourself “it’s the new twenties.” When you hit your forties, you start scoping out your midlife crisis car. But come 50, you’re too busy worrying about your twenty year old child and caring for your 80 year old parents to actually buy the car. And by 60 - well, the course of your life is pretty much set, isn’t it?

You start collecting your pension, finally embrace seniors’ discounts, and begin downsizing for your imminent retirement. You're not looking for a career change or a new hobby. Life is the way it is, and there's not much you can do about it.

The “decline” into “old age” is often mapped this way. But not everyone, everywhere follows this predictable pattern, or allows their age to dictate the trajectory of their lives. 

Heng Kang, for example, started something brand new when he was 60 years old - and it completely changed his life.

Heng Kang is a 60 year old husband and father who lives in Teok Chop, a small, economically depressed village in Cambodia. 

HENG KANG WITH HIS WIFE AND TWO GRANDCHILDREN
Like the other men in his village, Heng Kang planted a small farm and raised livestock to support his family. But it was never enough. Each year, they ran out of rice (their primary source of sustenance) before the next crop was ready to be harvested.

Due to a lack of proper farming equipment, as well as his right leg being paralyzed, Heng Kang did not have the capacity to feed his family year round. And because no one in the family had ever received an education, farming was their one and only option.

But then one day, an opportunity arose. Food for the Hungry began a partnership with Teok Chop and Heng Kang was selected as member of the Village Development Committee.
“I received a lot of training from the organization and participated in cross-visits [to other villages] to learn from their good experiences [of development],” he explains. “I brought those to practice in my family and, more importantly, to share with my neighbours." Heng continues, “Often, FH staff came to my farm to encourage me and teach me about new techniques in farming and raising animals.”

HENG KANG IN HIS RICE PADDY
Imagine, at 60 years old, changing the way you and your family have done things for generations! 

Teok Chop demonstrated tremendous courage, humility, and wisdom when he dared to do something new, something different. He didn’t let his age become a barrier to improving his circumstances.

Now, Heng Kang’s family has enough food to eat throughout the year, as well as some left over to sell.
“This year, I sold one ton of rice, 10 tons of cassava, and 10 kilograms of chicken! With this income, I finally managed to buy a hand tractor for my farming.” 
That’s a far cry from settling into the rocking chair on your front porch!

HENG KANG WITH HIS CASSAVA PLANTS
And Heng Kang isn’t satisfied with raising only his family out of poverty - he wants everyone in his village to reach sustainability. Not just for his generation, but for generations to come. 

“I want all the families in my village to carefully practice what they learned about agriculture and health,” he explains excitedly, “to push and encourage their children to go to school, and especially to participate in Saving Groups in our village in order to improve our family's livelihood and have enough money to support our children's education until they fully graduate, so that they will be able to give the best care to their family.” 

Heng Kang's aging eyes burn brightly as he shares his joy in partnering with FH:
“I am so delighted, because I have never learned about anything before. It was the major reason that made my family became so poor. However, after FH came to work in my village, my family's livelihood has been completely improved."

No matter what age you are, it's never too early or to late to make a difference in someone's life. Visit www.fhcanada.org to find out how you can walk with amazing people like Heng Kang.

It's Never Too Late To Change Reviewed by Eryn on 12:00 PM Rating: 5
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