Stories of Change

Top: Oy works on a motorbike repair job. Bottom: Oy and Kong in the shop.

A motorbike repair business means new hope for Oy

“Living in poverty was already hopeless, but life got harder when I lost my leg in a landmine accident,” Ouk Oy says. The 64-year-old father of four adult children lives with his wife, Sreng Kong, in western Cambodia. 

Oy and Kong rely on Kong’s income as a seasonal wage laborer in order to make ends meet. She could earn about $5 a day at a nearby corn farm. Oy told us, “before participating in a CWS program, my family didn’t have enough to eat. I borrowed rice or money to buy rice, and I worked as a wage laborer to repay the debt.” 

Oy had dreams and plans for a more stable income for his family. He and Kong live on the grounds of a Trauma Care Foundation property. The couple doesn’t own land, so the TCF allowed him to build a small home on their land. Oy also took a class on repairing motors through the TCF, but he could never afford the costs of starting a business. 

CWS works with the Khmer Community Development Association to reach families like Oy’s in this part of Cambodia. The goal of our Promoting Better Lives program is to help people with the information or resources to meet their basic needs, whether it’s a sanitary bathroom, a business start-up grant or something else. The KCDA team met with Oy and Kong to talk about their priorities and find out what the best way to support them was. Oy talked about his motor repair skills and his desire to start a business repairing motorbikes. CWS provided a $350 start-up grant so that he could buy tools and spare parts to get his shop going. 

Today, not only do Oy and Kong have a much more stable income, but Oy has a renewed confidence and sense of purpose. “I am so happy and proud of myself; I never ever thought that I could afford to have my own business. I never expected this opportunity in my life, to run a service shop with a better and stable income,” he says. Oy now makes $250-300 per month through the shop. 

“I can’t thank you enough for the support, as I now have a certain job to support my family. My wife doesn’t need to go out and sell her labor, we have enough to eat, and we can allocate some savings to expand my repair shop,” he added.