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VisionFund working to empower rural women

VisionFund Cambodia CEO Chee Chin Hoe (right) and his management team visit a client in a rural community
VisionFund Cambodia CEO Chee Chin Hoe (right) and his management team visit a client in a rural community. PHOTO SUPPLIED

VisionFund working to empower rural women

VisionFund Cambodia, which took root in the Kingdom in 2003 as the result of a partnership with global NGO World Vision, aims to empower women and their families with small loans and other financial services, in additional to bolstering the education available for poor children in rural areas. Also part of the fund’s mission is to help create real and lasting change by giving clients the training and support they need to run a successful business that will provide them and their families a sustainable income.

“Many research studies have found that empowering women upholds gender equity, reduces domestic violence in families and societies, and also improves their ability to take care of their children’s wellbeing in health and education,” Chee Chin Hoe, CEO of VisionFund Cambodia, said.

“Through our practical experience, we’ve found that more than 90 per cent of our clients are women, and more than 99.5 per cent have a good repayment record.

“We believe that VisionFund Cambodia’s strong efforts, commitment and dedication to female clients will bring improvements to the lives of women, their children and communities, particularly in promoting women’s rights and gender equity in Cambodia,” he added.

As of January 2014, VisionFund has over 1,000 staff, 32 per cent of them women. VisionFund Cambodia has a presence in more than 23 provinces and municipalities with a loan portfolio of over $62 million and with more than 192,000 active clients. The fund’s services have had an impact on about 640,000 children.

“We empower women and their families with small loans and other financial services,” Chin Hoe said. “We improve the lives of children. Our services unlock the potential for small businesses to grow. This enables children to grow up with improved health and education, giving them the foundations to build a positive future.”

VisionFund is especially committed to helping the poor, such as women with children in remote areas who have the ability, knowledge and skills to do business but who lack the necessary capital. In addition, according to Chin Hoe, “VisionFund also demonstrates its broader social mission by offering financial services to vulnerable or excluded groups like families affected by HIV/AIDS.”

The organisation’s local operations are a part of VisionFund International – a network under the globally renowned Christian relief, development and advocacy group World Vision. VisionFund Cambodia is an affiliated member of VisionFund International’s global microfinance network, which currently operates in 36 countries under the umbrella of World Vision International.

VisionFund is currently working in partnership with many local and international development organisations to achieve its social mission. Among its partners are World Vision Cambodia, the International Labour Organization, Plan International, Hagar, CEDAC, Path, iDE, International Solar Solutions, Hydrologic Social Enterprise, Adventist Development and Relief Agency Cambodia, Water SHED, Oxfam, Kiva, Habitat for Humanity, Kamworks, PKMI Micro-insurance and the Vittana Foundation.

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