Reaping the rewards of hard work
By Amelia Poxon, CARE Communications Coordinator, July 2010
Underneath Riem Soun’s modest single-room home which leans haphazardly on raised stiltsthere is an unexpected sight - a shiny, red motorised hand plough.
The 55 year-old mother of five explains that her family saved for the plough for four years, using the profits from selling their rice which has doubled in yield by using the methods she has learnt from CARE, as well as selling some pigs and cows.
“‘We can buy this plough because the yield from last year’s rice production was plenty,’ she says.
‘Plenty’ is a modest summation – last year Riem Soun produced five tonnes of rice. But shedoesn’t want to stop there.
‘Now we have the plough, we plan to produce more rice,’ she says with quiet determination.
Riem Soun’s field was selected to be CARE’s rice demonstration field as part of the Cambodian Highlands Food Security project – an example of best practice which ishighlighted for the other members of the village to learn from and aspire to.
‘We feel very happy to see the result of the demonstration plot. We see a big change in theyield. With our customary techniques our yield was very low.
’There is no doubt that this is an industrious family. Their fields are the most productive in the community, yet they do not own a television or anything above the basic necessities. The extra income from the sale of rice has gone straight back into further increasing productionand giving her children the opportunity to go to school.
Through her participation in the CHiFS project, Riem Soun has also learnt how to establishand maintain a home garden of vegetables. Now she has not one, but two large garden plotssprawling around her home.
‘I learnt about land preparation, and planting seedlings and the number of seedlings to plant.It has helped our family by having enough food for the family to eat, and also provided the opportunity for the children to go to school.
’‘Before, even my small children would accompany me to help find food in the forest. Since CARE came to the village, and we have a garden near our house, we can collect foodeasily. Now, all of my children go to school.
’Riem Soun shares some of her surplus seeds with her neighbours, and has taken on the responsibility of teaching them how to plant new varieties. They often wander over to her garden to see how it works.Her family are also learning from her new skills.
‘My family want to follow me and learn from me. The whole family is working in the gardens.
’As she walks around the garden quietly describing the different vegetables and techniques used to plant them, she stops mid-sentence and starts to pull weeds before looking up again and with a smile, says; ‘Sorry. I am not a talker, I am a doer.’