With four children of her own to raise, life in rural Cambodia was already difficult for Ree Heng. But when five of her nieces and nephews were orphaned, Ree did not hesitate to take them in.
“The most difficult issue at the time,” she recalls, “was that we didn’t have the money and food to eat.”
Ree worked hard to support her family, but could not keep up with the additional demands.
In rural Cambodia, Ree’s situation is not unique. That’s why Baptist World Aid works with Ponleu Ney Kdey Sanghum (PNKS) to establish community savings groups.
“If my children are sick and I don’t have money, I can borrow from the community. That’s very helpful,” says Ree.
Ree also received useful livelihoods training.
“PNKS has helped educate us. They taught us about agriculture, how to run small business, water well construction, and how to build a clean toilet,” she says.
Today Ree owns a small goods store, grows rice and raises livestock to support her family. And, while her own four children – now grown up – did not get to finish school themselves, Ree is hopeful that her nephews and nieces will have the opportunity.
“I work to earn money to send them to school. I do that because I want to see them educated in the future,” she says.
Because of this project, women like Ree can support their families and lift themselves out of poverty.
Baptist World Aid is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).