May 2017, Siem Reap – Leang and Sopheap migrated to Thailand to work on fruit farms because they could not find a job in Cambodia. They returned home to take care of their elderly parents. “When we returned to Cambodia, we had difficulties to start a business with no money and no skills,” said Leang. Their situation worsened and they stopped sending their son to school.
The U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Cambodia Countering Trafficking-in-Persons program, through Winrock International and the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC), helped them to improve their income by applying new skills. The program provided them with training and materials to raise chickens, grow vegetables and manage a small business. Today, Leang and Sopheap not only can support their own family, but also share their knowledge and skills with other vulnerable villagers.
“After CEDAC’s support we can grow vegetables and raise animals with good techniques and get good products to sell,” they said. They can now make between US$3.75-12.50 a day and their son is back at school.
“My family’s plan in the future is to expand our business. We hope to have enough money to buy land and build a new house,” said Leang. So far, they have shared their expertise with 15 families in their village, who have then passed on the knowledge to 270 other families. Leang and Sopheap are one of 22 model families in four provinces across Cambodia supported by the project and now sharing new skills with their communities.