A vision to change my community
1A vision to change my community Mrs. Srey Em, CCG of Umoja in Roka Khpos Villag, Trapaing Sab Commune, Bati District, Takeo Province. Mrs. Srey Em is Umoja groups CCG leader and she lives in Roka Khpos village with her husband who is disabled. She’s been an Umoja member since 2012, and became the CCG leader in 2014.
In early 2012, Mrs. Srey Em didn’t understand what Umoja was all about, but she was interested in joining the saving group and project. One day, an Umoja facilitator from Tasu village came to visit her village and told her about the Umoja approach. She began to develop an understanding of the approach and she asked if she could become an Umoja member too.
Before 2012, Mrs. Srey Em was very poor and she found it difficult to find enough food to support her family. She earned money by selling candies in the village during funeral parties and other cultural activities. She had to work alone because her husband is disabled and her candy business provided her family with very little income. Srey Em and her husband were living a lonely life with few friends and no body to care for them. They didn’t have a good relationship with their neighbours or the children in the village. She said that, “I was living day to day for food only, and I never thought about the purpose of my life.”
After Mrs. Srey Em had heard about Umoja from Ms. Srey Nouch, she decided to get involved in the group. Since then she has found that, “Umoja has changed my family life, it has helped me to improve my livelihood, my spiritual relationships and my mindset. I have stopped selling candies in the village, because it was dangerous to leave my husband alone at home and for me to be cycling away from home. Instead I have started to plant fruits and vegetables such as, lemons, the medical moringa tree, papaya and custard apples, among others, to support my family”. Since then she has started to earn money from selling moringa powder as well as some snacks from her home.
Nowadays, Mrs. Srey Em and her husband are involved in an Umoja literacy project. They teach Khmer to children in the village for four hours a day, six days a week, working in the morning and afternoon. Mrs. Srey Em said, “Through my work in Umoja I had a vision to see children in my community gaining a good education. So my husband and I started to teach the children and I sell some candy to them too. Before, I didn’t like children and I thought they were annoying. But, through teaching the children in the village, I have developed a good relationship with them and the other people in the village too. They used to hate us because we are Christians, but now we have good relationships, because they want their children to come to our class.” Umoja has not only changed Mrs. Srey Em, but has also helped her husband to value himself.
He used to think that as a disabled person, he could do nothing, but now he knows that he can use his only working hand to teach the children. Moreover, through Umoja they have been able to start saving money for their family. “From 2012 up until now, I have saved almost 400 dollars,” said Mrs.Srey Em. She initially borrowed some money from the saving group to buy some resources for her small business at home. She believes that, God will not stop supporting them now, but that He will provide for them more and more as they continue to work for him by faith. In the future she wants to see a children’s centre in her village, so that children in her community can gain a