Across Cambodia, there are hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities. These people are of differing ages and genders and could have acquired a disability from birth, as a result of a medical issue such as polio or from the civil war or a landmine. These disabilities cause a multitude of issues for these people such as getting a job or obtaining an education. Services for these people are few and far between and thus, many resort to begging to feed themselves and their family.

Sokhorn Kreung is a 46-year-old single mother of 2 orphaned children. She contracted polio when she was young and lost the use of her legs. About 4 years ago, after Sokhorn took in 2 orphaned children she decided to use her savings to start a business selling grocery products and snacks. The business was very small but helped her avoid begging for money on the streets.

Not long after at a community meeting, she raised how she was struggling with the cost of living and couldn’t afford school supplies for her children. She was concerned about being able to provide food for her family every day as borrowing money at high interest rates and paying for medical supplies for her children had crippled her financially.

Sokhorn’s wish was granted and she was directed towards Cufa’s Village Entrepreneur programwhere she gained sponsorship for her business. This provided her with the finance to improve, fixing her stall and expanding her product range and learning new business skills that would stay with her long past her completion of the program. She said of her involvement, “I am really glad that my business has now improved and I have more profit to support my family.”

Cufa holds training sessions and business consultations once a quarter, along with one-on-one assistance being made available. Sokhorn has learnt a lot from the training as she said, “Previously I had no idea how to market my business to customers. Now I know many ways in which I can do this. Things like customer service skills, keeping my stall clean and bookkeeping have given me much success.”

Now, Sokhorn has been able to purchase new school uniforms, stationery and pay for the study that her children have undertaken. In addition, she can now afford medicine and also does not need to take a loan out to buy rice which she sometimes did before.

Finally, Sokhorn had to say of the program, “Many thanks for the support. I will always work hard and do my best to care for my business. I now look forward to the future as I can further improve my life and provide for my children.”

Find out more about how Cufa is changing lives through the Village Entrepreneur program.