Stories of Change

Touch in his garden.

CWS programs in Cambodia reached more than 21,000 people in 83 communities last year.

Source: CWS Annual Report 2017

Planting the seeds of a brighter future

Preoung Touch is a 61-year-old father of four. He wife, Vann Chhorvy, is much younger at 45 years old, but because of a long-term illness she is not able to work outside the house. Their children range in age from eight to 21, and the older two work as daily wage laborers in the part of northwest Cambodia where the family lives.

The family was struggling when the CWS team first met them. An unskilled worker laborer going from village to village to work can earn about $5 a day – when he can find work at all. Touch and his two oldest children were doing their best to earn an income for the family, but our team learned that they sometimes didn’t have enough food to eat. What they earned wasn’t enough to send the younger two children to school, especially in the face of Chhorvy’s medical treatment costs.

Because of their tough situation, the family was prioritized by CWS local partner Rural Development Association to join the Promoting Better Lives program. Touch joined information and training sessions where he and his neighbors learned new and better techniques for vegetable production, especially in the face of climate change.

Touch also happened to own a plot of land that was about a third of an acre and was given to him by his parents. He had never been able to afford seeds or had the time to plant it, though, so it went unused. Touch received seeds through the CWS program, though, and was able to plant them immediately!

Just 18 months later, life is different for Touch and his family. He now has the opportunity to stop migrating to find work as a day laborer, although his children do continue to do so. Instead, Touch can earn about $17 from selling his vegetables. When he talked to our staff recently, Touch said, “I thank CWS and RDA for all the support that enabled me to have my home-based work to support my family. I now have a plan to garden all year round and I am going to stop working as a wage laborer as it is not easy for me as an old man like me.”