Community Ponds Change Lives

Cambodia is a country of stark contrasts. In the rainy season water is abundant, so rural families can farm, grow vegetables, produce an income, and send their children to school.

Prey O'mal, our new target village
In the dry season, everything is different; the shallow ponds quickly dry up, and water becomes very difficult to reach. Not only is drinking water scarce, but farming is difficult, and as vegetables disappear so does the ability to earn an income for the family. For many families, this leads to one of the parents leaving for temporary jobs in large towns or even in Thailand. The children at home have to do more housework and chores, and the biggest of those chores is spending several hours each day travelling to collect water. As a result, children often can't go to school regularly. When they miss school, they get low grades and eventually drop out, and the cycle of poverty is recreated….

Your support helps families break the cycle of poverty.

We are grateful for all our supporters around the world, including you, Youthlinc, Starquest Expeditions, and the many Rotarians who are working through Sustainable Cambodia and Sustainable Cambodia Australia to help village families and children. With everyone's help, nearly 400 wells are providing safe water, more than 4,500 students are currently enrolled in our schools, and nearly 25,000 Cambodians have been able to change their lives for the better. None of this would be happening without supporters like you!

Rural families can grow vegetables all year round with the water from our community pond program
In this month's newsletter, we are sharing how our community ponds program has changed the life of many rural families and their children. Please read below to discover more.

Community Ponds Change Lives

Our Community Pond Program provides community members with an affordable and sustainable way to improve their family's health and to help them produce food and generate income during the dry season.

One SC-supported community pond in Prey O'mal village
Community Ponds provide water for irrigating gardens and feeding livestock and can be stocked with fish to increase the village families' access to high protein food and generate income. This earned income provides families with the means to pay for supplies, healthcare services and food security, and even to create small business opportunities.

Not only are families engaged in co-creating a sustainable community asset, they are productive during the long dormant period between the rice harvest and the next rice planting. With locally earned income, families don't have to leave their homes for jobs in the distant areas, and their children can stay in school!

The families in Prey O'mal village, a new SC target area, have helped to dig four new community ponds, which are benefiting more than 40 families. In the following section you will meet one of those families, and see how their lives have changed!

Mrs. Kong Sophear and her family
Meet 34 year old Kong Sophear, one of the poorest farmers in rural Prey O'mal, our new target village. She currently lives with her husband and her 2 children.

Life was extremely challenging for them when they first moved to this village in 2004. Their home was very far from any water source, and the children often missed school when they had to spend hours fetching water for the family.

Her vegetable garden with the water from the SC-supported community pond 
Moreover, with no job opportunities during the dry season, the family was unable to create a sustainable source of income no matter how hard they worked.

Mrs. Kong Sophear and her husband in their vegetable garden next to the SC-supported community pond
Everything changed when Kong Sophear and her husband joined Sustainable Cambodia's projects. Sophear joined one of SC's Self-Help Groups in late 2013 and has worked with the group for nearly a year now.
Sophear and her husband harvesting their vegetables to sell at the market
The family has clean water from a bio-sand water filter, has benefited from an SC-supported community well and community pond, has been trained in agriculture and business concepts. Mrs. Kong received vegetable seeds, along with agricultural tools and training, and received a micro-loan for the family to open a village business. 

And their lives have changed... The harvest from Mrs. Kong's family farming has given the family much-needed income.

Mrs. Kong and her husband working in their vegetable garden
Her husband works in the vegetable garden with her, and also runs his small business, providing commodities for the community. Their lives are no longer dominated by long walks to get water, and their children are now able to go to school regularly. 

When we interviewed Kong Sophear, she said: "We are very honored and grateful to have Sustainable Cambodia come to help our community. After the pond was completed, we were able to grow enough food to eat, and earn enough money to support our family, and allow our children to go to school everyday.”

Mrs. Kong Sophear and her husband next to the pond
She continued: "I now love my husband more than before because he now works so hard all day, he grows vegetables with me, we raise chickens and animals, he sells products in the village and helps me with housework. Thank you SC and all supporters for helping our family and our community with the water, well, and bio-sand filter for safe drinking water, loan for business, pond for growing vegetables, and a lot more. We wish you good health, good luck and good lives for your family, too."


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