Stories of Change

Chreb in her garden.

The importance of savings for a family in Cambodia

Chho Chreb and Ros Pum live in northern Cambodia with their five-year-old son and a baby on the way. They own a small piece of land that they farm. They used to grow mostly rice, which they told us yielded “just enough” for them to eat. They may have been able to put food on their table, but they were in an extremely vulnerable financial situation with no way of building savings.

Because the family, and especially the little boy, were living at risk of hunger, they joined a CWS program in the area. Chreb learned about growing a variety of vegetables and how this diversity would allow her to adapt in the face of climate change. Then she received seeds and gardening tools so she and Pum could immediately get started putting what she learned into action.

The family is now growing kale, cucumber, long beans, eggplant, morning glory, climbing wattle, amaranth, chili and basil. Chreb told us recently that her family now produces enough of their own vegetables that they don’t need to buy them from other farmers. Even better, they now produce enough that they have a surplus to sell! They can earn about $375 per harvest. They use some of their income to buy other food, and they are able to save some of it to build up their savings!

“I am so thankful to CWS for your support. Now that I have new knowledge and skills for better vegetable growing, I have my own vegetables to eat and sell. Now our family earns income from selling our surplus produce, and we even have some savings for emergencies now,” Chreb says.

In the short term, those savings are critically important to ensure that their new baby will be delivered safely. “I have saved $500, which I will use for my second child’s safe delivery,” Chreb says. “I do not worry about the birth because I have my savings that I can use to pay for quality care and a skilled delivery. Thanks again for helping me improve my family’s diet and our income.”

After their baby is born and the family rebuilds their savings, Chreb says that she and Pum plan to double the size of their garden to produce, and earn, even more.