“We did not understand the importance of saving money. As for farming, we did not get much crop production because we did not understand how to grow crops and raise animals in a technical way. As a result, I failed many times which caused my family to suffer and face many problems.” - Ith Nin, Cambodia
Ith Nin is a 38-year-old agriculture volunteer and Savings and Loans group leader in Chhouk Sor, Cambodia. For years, he and his wife, Sea Sokvin, worked hard to make a good life for themselves and their three children, but were often frustrated at the lack of return they got. So when FH began offering community workshops in their village, Nin was excited to participate. “Because of loving farming and livestock, I volunteered to join FH’s agriculture sector,” says Nin. Through FH training, Nin learned the role of a community agriculture volunteer, how to grow a home garden, mixed farming, and animal raising including fish, chickens, ducks, pigs, and cows. “I applied those lessons in my real practices,” explains Nin. “Now my family can earn around 50,000 - 100,000 Riels ($12.50 - $25) everyday from selling vegetables like beans, spinach, cucumber, wax melon, watermelon, corn, sponge gourd, lemongrass, garlic, and all sorts of herbs as well as chickens and catfish.”
After a few years of walking together, FH initiated Savings and Loans groups in Chhouk Sor. Eager to learn how best to leverage his growing income, Lin joined a group and was elected by the members as a leader. In the beginning, he visited a number of other savings groups in the surrounding areas to learn from their experiences. With 28 members (23 women!) and a total amount saved of 21,941,000 Riels ($5485.25), Nin’s group has been going strong for nearly two years!
In the face of the recent coronavirus pandemic, Nin’s savings group, made possible by Piggy Banks given through FH’s Gift Guide, made all the difference. “During COVID-19, in terms of livelihood, my family, community, and other members of my savings group borrowed money from the group to plant our vegetables, raise fish and chickens, and do farming during this pandemic,” Nin explains. “This is a main reason why our community is less impacted by this virus, especially on livelihood.”
“My family and community prevented the spread of this new virus through maintaining our handwashing and physical distance,” Nin goes on. “I volunteered to promote the measures to prevent this new virus to the community by getting guidance from FH and the Ministry of Health.” The resources, trust, and leadership developed through nearly two years of saving together gave Nin’s community the resilience they needed to meet a global pandemic with confidence.
In addition, Nin’s neighbours had had the benefit of learning new farming techniques from him. By the time COVID-19 disrupted food supply chains, families in the village already had established home gardens. “I shared the lessons of crop production and raising animals to other neighbours in my community. I am very happy that my efforts have positively impacted my community’s development. My family’s condition is much better.”