KOMPONG CHAM-For 63-year-old Chea Nan, a loan from the ILO's Cambodia Employment
Generation Program has meant a new start in life.
Akromah weaver since she was 13, she lost most of her family over the last
two decades. She survived by selling kromahs to a middleman for 200 riels each
after he supplied cotton.
Unhappy with such a small return for her work,
she acted after hearing of the program last year.
She walked the 10 km
from her Dambong Daek village to Kompong Cham town to the offices of the
Association of Cambodian Local Economic Development Agencies (Acleda), a Khmer
NGO implementing the program.
Acleda gave her a $120 loan so she could
buy her own cotton and set up in business herself.
She now sells her
kromahs herself at 400 riels each, and has also learned how to weave mosquito
nets, blankets and sarongs.
Nan is typical of the program's 7,000
beneficiaries - women are one of the main target groups.
the food processing industry is dominated by women, some of whom have been
taking advantage of the program. Women have been helped to go it alone in areas
such as mushroom and fish cultivation, the making of soy sauce and incense
Most women get loans of between $100 to $300 to expand their
work or make them more independent.
Women are also going into
non-traditional fields like Chong Thnal, 48, who runs a carpentry business in
Choun Seng , Kompong Cham.
A $250 loan for wood and equipment now helps
this widow, who learnt carpentry from her husband, support five children.
Heng Sovanna is even more unusual - she's a brick maker.
Standing in a large thatched shed full of bricks and tiles, Sovanna
nurses her two-year-old child as she told how she learnt her trade from her
father. She now makes up to 20,000 bricks and 60,000 tiles monthly.
factory, which employs 30 workers, was helped by a $980 loan from Acleda. With
two kilns, Sovanna says she now makes a $400 monthly profit.