Stories of Change

Heang next to her new, sanitary latrine.

This year, CWS programs in Cambodia reached 21,373 individuals in 83 communities.

Information, education and a sanitary latrine in Cambodia

Chab Heang, 61, lives in Ballangk Kroam village in central Cambodia. She and her 30-year-old son Kriya work as wage laborers on their neighbor’s farms. They plant and then harvest corn and potatoes for up to $10 US each day. Heang and her husband got divorced some years ago, and he was the family’s primary wage earner. Now, Heang and Kriya are trying to earn enough to get by.

They can only work as wage laborers during planting and harvesting months, which are few. To add to their earnings, Heang sells vegetables from her home garden to earn $5 or $6 US in a day. These earnings, of course, are seasonal. There are still significant gaps in the family’s income.

Needless to say, this situation makes it really hard for Heang and Kriya to save any money or to make improvements on their small wooden house. The home has no running water or toilet – not even an outside latrine.

That’s where the Rural Development Association, a CWS partner, comes into the picture. Thanks to some outreach work among some of Cambodia’s poorest families, the RDA met Heang. She became a CWS Household Partner, which means that she took part in a program focused on giving her the information and supplies she needed to make improvements. She worked with the RDA and the local government to build a safe, sanitary latrine. She also had access to information and education about better personal hygiene and water safety. She also joined a saving group, which has helped her as she continues to improve life for herself and her son.