During my first few days at work, I traveled with a few members of Neary Khmer (NK) to visit some of their beneficiaries in targeted villages. Since most of the villages that NK works with are in rural areas, the best mode of transportation is by motorbike, due to the uneven dirt roads. This is especially true during the rainy season when many potholes form and even parts of the road can be washed out. This makes it extremely difficult for cars which I quickly learned today when the car we borrowed for today’s trip got stuck in mud, which resulted in us pushing the car out. It took us about an hour and a half to reach each of the villages that we visited, including the ones today at Kampong Khleang.

Neary Khmer implemented different forms of microfinancing in many of the villages to promote sustainability and growth within the village communites. Of the Neary Khmer’s beneficiaries that I spoke with were given pigs to raise since they are easy to raise and are valuable on the market. A pig weighing at 50kgs (110lbs) can be sold for 300,000 riels (about 75 USD), a piglet at 5kgs (11lbs) can be sold for 100,000 riels (about $25). The pigs can be raised to 50kgs about 4 months if they are fed rice mixed with home-brewed wine. In a country where the per capita income is extremely low (i.e teachers get paid about 40 USD a month), pigs are very profitable.

Mother Pig and her piglets

In Kampong Klang, a fishing village near the Tonle Sap Lake, villagers were given fish to raise as well as credit to help them buy necessary things to raise fish. These villagers as well reported a slow, but steady increase in prosperity that would not have otherwise.

The villages that use microfinancing may borrow money that NK has given to the village with a 1% interest per month. Money that is repaid is kept within the money pool that stays within that particular village to continue the loaning cycle. (About 5% of the money that is given back to the money pool are given to elders who can no longer work and orphans.)

feeding fish in "beiys"- cages in the river for raising fish

feeding fish in "beiys"- cages in the river for raising fish