CAMBODIA – During my five years working with World Renew in Cambodia, I have witnessed a growing exodus from the rural communities we serve. Frequent droughts, floods, and poor soil quality all make farming a tenuous way to earn an income.
People of working age are moving to urban areas and even neighboring countries to find jobs.
The money they send back to their communities is valuable, but the social costs are high. Husbands and wives are forced to live apart. Children are left to be raised by grandparents. It is hard to watch the older generation, all of whom are survivors of the brutal Pol Pot regime, struggle to keep up with labor intensive farming while raising their grandchildren.
Eth Oak, a grandmother and farmer, lives with her husband and grandchildren in Thnong village, a two-hour drive east of the capital city Phnom Penh. Eth Oak’s family struggled to adequately support themselves and the grandchildren by farming and fell into debt.
In 2015, World Renew local partner, Organization To Develop Our Villages (ODOV), established a village savings and loan bank in Eth Oak’s village. Eth was motivated to join the village bank. She began attending meetings and understanding the concept of savings, using a loan to start a business, and even new agricultural techniques.
Eth has saved some of her earnings and purchased another sewing machine so that the children can assist in sewing and further support the family. “I am happy,” says Eth “to have my own business in addition to farming. Now, I have money to buy clothes and study materials for my grandchildren so they can go to school. I can also pay back my loan.”
With support from the village bank committee, her fellow farmers, and ODOV, Eth also learned to sew. Propelled by her new skill, she decided to open a sewing business, taking a loan from the village bank to purchase a sewing machine. She began sewing clothing with raw materials provided by a company that would pay her for her work.
Pray for Cambodia
- We give thanks for a very successful evaluation of World Renew’s project with our partner Mission Alliance. The evaluators found that, after 10 years of work, 99% of those involved in the project believed that their community’s overall wellbeing and situation had improved as a result of the project’s activities. Significant improvements were found in livelihoods, health, education, and governance.
- We give thanks for a powerful celebration and learning event with local NGO partners involved in the Mission Alliance project. We are thankful for their reflections on working with World Renew for the past 10 years and their insights into how this work can be expanded and sustained, with fewer resources, in the future.
- We give thanks for a new volunteer, Phil Marfisi, who will spend 5 months in Cambodia supporting our work with youth and helping with our external communications. Pray that he adjusts well and that a strong counterpart can be identified to work and grow with him.
- We pray for the Cambodian government following the national election on July 28. With the leaders of the popular opposition party in exile and prison, the way was clear for another victory for the CPP party. This party, under Prime Minister Hun Sen, has governed in Cambodia since 1997. This leaves the national government with no accountability. It leaves organizations and people advocating for accountability, participation and equity with a feeling of despondency. We pray that a true democracy will come to Cambodia before the next national election.
- We pray for the upcoming Discovery and Serve Tours to Cambodia. Please pray with us that the tours will fill with participants who will be enriched and transformed by their experience in Cambodia. Pray also that the Cambodian staff, partners, and community members will feel blessed by the visitors’ interest, prayers, and heart for justice.
- We pray for the leadership of our NGO partner, KADRA. Pray for the KADRA director, Mr. Sovanna, and his family. Mr. Sovanna is facing a serious illness. If he is able to experience some healing, he will most likely be in a wheelchair. Pray that KADRA will be able to continue their effective community development activities in their target area.
World Renew Cambodia