Bopha Sun grew up in a traditional farming community in Cambodia. When she was just 10 years old, her mother fell ill and Bopha Sun was forced out of school. Having missed out on months of education she continued working on her parents’ farm.
As a result Bopha Sun never learnt to read or write and her lack of self-confidence prevented her from gaining the vital life-skills she needed to make the most of her future.
Then when she had her own family and land to look after, Bopha Sun struggled to provide enough food and money to support them for the whole year. During the dry season her husband would migrate to Thailand to find work and help supplement their income, but this wasn’t enough to sustain the family.
When things got desperate, Bopha Sun would borrow money from local loan sharks just to plant rice. The changing climate would then dictate whether she would be able to pay back the money or fall further into debt. “Sometimes when harvest was bad due to little rain I did not have enough to pay back the loan or buy food for the children,” Bopha Sun said.
It was the promise of improved rice yields that encouraged Bopha Sun to become involved with ADRA’s ALIVE project. The project, which utilises trained community volunteers, is providing agricultural, business and lifestyle knowledge to people like Bopha Sun, to help them increase their production and family incomes.
After participating in the project, Bopha Sun has learnt to read and write, doubled her rice yield and now earns enough money to support her family and send her kids to school.
“There has been a big difference in my life,” Bopha Sun said. “Before I could not read and write, and now I can. Before I was afraid to go to the market and grow my business, but now I have the confidence to sell my rice… I feel very confident I can do anything I want to do!”
Recognising Bopha Sun’s commitment and perseverance in applying her new-found skills, ADRA staff recommended her for a local rice farming competition where she won fourth place among hundreds of entries. “I’m so excited. I won a machine that helps me plant my seeds,” Bopha Sun said.
Bopha Sun’s life is now much easier, but she still works hard to ensure that her children don’t have to face the challenges she once had to endure. “My dream is for my children to finish their education and find a good job. I work very hard in the field to make this possible for them,” Bopha Sun said.
While this might be a dream for Bopha Sun, we can help make it a reality. By shining our light and helping ADRA raise $972,000 this end-of-financial year, we can provide a better future for people like Bopha Sun—helping them to realise their potential and thrive.
In Cambodia alone, where Bopha Sun lives, more than 45 percent of people are still living below the poverty line, lacking access to basic necessities such as food, sanitation and water facilities. While Bopha Sun is one of the lucky ones, thousands continue to struggle.
Original Story: ADRA Australia