Over the years, Sam experienced many difficult circumstances that made it hard for him to provide well for his wife and six sons, who live with him in a remote community in Cambodia.
One of these circumstances was the arrival of a private construction company interested in Sam’s farming land. When the company approached Sam with a deal, they took advantage of his low literacy skills and tricked him into an unfair deal. The deal allowed the company to dig up a large portion Sam’s land, leaving only a small parcel for Sam to farm. When the rains came later that year, they flooded the portion of land Sam had left. He was left with nothing, and felt that the only choice he had was to move his family.
Sam and his family did not have enough money to build a house in their new location. For a while, they lived under a tree on the bank of a river, with only a curtain to protect them from the elements.
Sam continued to work as a farmer, but his earnings were not enough to support the family’s needs. Of all his children, only the youngest boy could stay in school, since they couldn’t support the expenses for books and supplies. Their eldest son migrated to neighboring Thailand for a better paying job. The family lost touch with him, and the separation was very difficult for Sam and his wife.
Through World Renew’s local partner, Living Water Church, Sam became connected with a community agriculture program in Soksan village.
“Through the school I was also able to share with other farmers in my community, and we learned together through trial and error.”
World Renew opened a farming field school in Soksan to teach members of the community new agriculture techniques to help them increase their crop yields and also protect the land. Sam became a member and learned several techniques for improving his vegetable growing and animal rearing.
“Through the school I was also able to share with other farmers in my community, and we learned together through trial and error,” said Sam.
Sam started applying the techniques he learned in his own garden. He put compost to his field to retain moisture. He also used System of Rice Intensification (SRI), a technique to improve rice production on the small parcels of flat land. As his own success grew, farmers in the community began coming to him for advice and tutorage about improving their crops.
It was exciting for Sam to see that his fellow community members were making changes and finding new opportunities through their choices.
As a result of Sam’s new success, he and his family have been able to build a house of their own
“Throughout my work, I always encourage my neighbors to be willing to learn new techniques and adapt their methods from traditional habits, so they can have a better income.”
Last year, Sam was highlighted as a “model farmer.” He is now a recognized in the community as an excellent teacher of agriculture techniques. His work has help more farmers provide for their families and has influenced them to reduce their reliance on chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
As a result of Sam’s new success, he and his family have been able to build a house of their own. Their improved income also allowed them to bring their son back from Thailand. His older children either help Sam farm our have land of their own nearby. The whole family is committed to seeing the youngest child finish his studies and excited about the new possibilities ahead for their family and community.