Ten years ago, Leng Puon’s husband left her.
He didn’t want to, but he and Leng couldn’t support their family and so he, like so many rural Cambodians, migrated to Thailand, lured by the promise of work. Leng was left to raise their three children, while her husband, lonely and far away, sent home far less than he had hoped.
It’s not an uncommon story.
So World Renew and OREDA, our partner in Cambodia, seek to support income opportunities that allow families to support themselves and stay together.
We began work in Leng’s village by facilitating the establishment of an agricultural cooperative and Leng joined right away.
Because of her commitment and potential, Leng was selected by the group to be a pork seller for the cooperative. As the cooperative began to see how supporting each other’s businesses allowed everyone to succeed, Leng started to make money.
When she realized she was making far more than her husband was sending home (almost $300 a month), Leng asked him to return from Thailand. She had a plan for him too: he could buy pigs from members of the cooperative and operate a slaughterhouse.
Now thirty-six and a key member of the agricultural cooperative, Leng looks back on those lonely years and feels amazed.
“I am confident in doing my business,” she says. “My husband always asks for my ideas. I earned a higher value as a wife, a mother, and a member of the cooperative.”
Leng worked hard to achieve economic stability, but today the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 threaten to put her family at risk once again. Just as World Renew walked alongside Leng as she proudly built her business, we will continue to be there for Leng and other vulnerable people affected by COVID-19. Because when we work together, we find hope.