HOPENZ has been working with Cambodians in Pursat Province since 2006. Though initially begun with a specific focus on providing access to clean water, HOPENZ’s work has evolved into an extensive community development programme based on partnership between HOPE Cambodia staff and hard-working and grateful Cambodians who are committed to building a better, self–reliant future. Though the focus has broadened, all development work in Cambodia still begins with water.
More than Survival
HOPENZ in partnership with HOPE Cambodia have additional initiatives to help people take the next step. By lending and not giving, Cambodians are able to help themselves and gain not only a higher standard of living, but a higher level of self respect. To access capital, there are community groups, or self-help groups, where all members have access to small loans, often called micro-credit loans. However, some well recipients, often the poorest, are intimidated by self-help groups. Many have never had access to money, savings, nor have any business to develop. For these people, in-kind credit, or credit in the form of goods rather than money, is more appealing; it provides them with a tangible long-term resource with which they can feed their families.
An animal is essential for Cambodian farming methods. Without an animal, families are forced to do the back-breaking and time consuming field work by hand, which results in a considerably smaller yield. Alternatively, some farmers rent an animal from someone else; however the payment is often more than half if not larger than the yield, especially if it is a poor season. As well as ploughing, an animal is useful in many ways; cow dung can be used as a fertilizer to replace expensive chemicals, it can be used for milk, transportation of goods, and breeding for extra income. While a cow is not expensive to care for, the high initial costs make it impossible for many villagers to purchase one, so HOPENZ has funded cow banks to make it possible. This concept has been extended to include pigs, which will be used as a valuable food source and in income generation for a family.
The simple gift of an animal will dramatically change the hopes and future of a disadvantaged Cambodian family. On behalf of the HOPENZ Board and those Cambodians that have been helped and those yet to be helped, thank you for your generosity.