Ley Savorn - Cambodia

WINNER!

Nominated by Heifer International.

My name is Ley Savorn. I was born in Oak Sor Sor village, Omal commune, Battambang district, Battambang province. Currently I am living in my hometown. I have graduated from year 12 of high school.

My father 's name is Ley Savong, he is a farmer and a member of traditional music band. He was born in Dak Sor Sor village, Omal commune, Battambang district, Battambang province. My mother's name is Sam Yarng, she is a fanner. She was born in Ampil village, Ampil commune, Ampil district, Banteay Mean Chey province.

In 2006 I attended a training and coaching to be a tailor and women's dress designer. In 2007 I started working as a volunteer with Aphiwat Strey (AS) organization in the position of community secretary, responsible for facilitating a credit section in Dak Sor Sor village Omal commune, Battambang district, Battambang  province (my home town). This work helps strengthen my capacity in facilitation skills and knowledge in working with community development.

Because of my enthusiastic work with the community, I was selected as community facilitator working in the same community in October 2009. I was responsible for organizing 27 self-help groups consisting of 597 families. I assisted each group to establish group rules and regulations and saving regularly every month. I also was responsible for facilitating project management committee (PMC) meetings, mobile meetings every month and conducting Participatory Self Reviews and Planning (PSRP) every three months. I organized a community forum, assisted in community problem solving and in saving plans management. So far, I have facilitated solutions to three domestic violence cases, two cases of emergency birth delivery in the community, helped four families facing serious storms and assisted ten widows to establish their small businesses.

I am so proud that I encouraged two literacy participants to become literacy facilitators and now they have became Ponleu Strey cooperative committee members. Besides the activities described above, I also provided training to self-help group leaders as well as self-help group members on animal feeding, vegetable gardening, fertilizer producing, Heifer 12 Cornerstones, leadership and facilitation skills, PSRPs, domestic violence, gender and sexually transmitted infections and grassroots advocacy. As a result, community members are more knowledgeable in personal leadership, live harmoniously with strong solidarity and they change their behavior in animal raising and home gardening (from traditional practice to technical ones). I also am actively involved in organizing a POG celebration and organized three community forums. Furthermore, I was invited to give presentations on "women and leadership in community" to Banteay Srey Organization's group leaders, their communities and women community council members for three times with 100 participants each time. I was told that the women in the organization are more aware on leadership and more active in connecting with local authority now.

Recently, I have been working to establish a cooperative named "Poleu Strey," which means Women's Light in English. It became a formal cooperative on June 8, 2012 under the recognition of local authority and the provincial agriculture department and I was selected as the cooperative leader. This cooperative consists of 120 families whose total shares are 138 shares with the total amount of money US $3000. We use the money of the cooperative for a credit program. The program is running smoothly. We lend the money to income generating activities only. In the near future we plan to have some business to generate income, to serve community needs and to reduce middlemen in the village. We plan to have a fertilizer business, open a shop which sells groceries and agriculture materials, too. I also have mobilized a fund from cooperative members, Heifer Cambodia staff and people outside the country to built a 6m x 5m center which cost 2,340,000 Riels (US$585). I strongly believe that the cooperative is meant to improve villagers' production and reduce the cost of living and it will become stronger in the future.

What I want to see from my work is people in my community live harmoniously with dignity, have food security for the whole year, share their own resources to support lonely elders, liberate victimized women from domestic violence and assist women and  children  to live in dignity and prosperity.

I would like to show my purpose and commitment. If I win the award, I would use the funds to open a shop that supplies fertilizer, agriculture materials and grocery to communities. This shop will help communities buy their basic needs with reasonable prices and cut out the middlemen who are always taking advantage of villagers. The benefit from the business will go to assist lonely elderly and vulnerable women and children in my community. We want to see every child in the village go to school.

 

I wish to win the award so I can use it to develop my community which is facing financial problem in doing business as well as women and children who need urgent assistance. If I win the award, I would reach my community dream of having food for the whole year and can send every child to school.