Mr Che, 61 years old, is the leader of the Ek Phnom district OPA.
He says, “we started this older people’s association 13 years ago. When we began there were 46 of us, now we have 161 members. Of this the 2/3rds are women. As we are now so big, we meet in smaller groups of 50-60 people.
“Our older people’s association is like a family. We meet each other. We know each other. We plant our crops together, we harvest them together. We celebrate festivals together. Just like a family, we even cook and eat together whenever we meet. When one of our members is alone or needs help, we try and bring them here and look after them together.
“If we did not have this family, we would be alone. It is very hard for the older people who are alone. Here we can share each other’s problems and no one is ever alone.
“Another way we help each other is financially through a rotating grant. E.g. if there is a poor member who passes away we make sure they get a proper funeral. We share rice in a community bank making sure we all have enough to eat.
“Of course, we have our limits as well. We do not have enough money for all the things we have to do. But we try our best. Sometime we even borrow money together to spread the risk of not being able to pay the lender back.
“We want to send our greetings to all older people. We’d like to ask you to always be good to other older people. Be caring. Please visit an older person who might be alone or when they are sick. Do not keep your wealth to yourself. When you die you do not take anything to the grave. We support our weakest member of the association and together we are strong. We ask you to do the same.”