Sophoan looks over her chicken enclosure with pride as she discusses how animal raising will help her earn a living following the devastating floods in 2011. Over the noisy clucking of her chooks Sophoan shares her personal experience of the worst flooding in the region for a decade.
Sophoan explains that during the flooding, “I was scared and had to move to the highland in the village together with my son.” In fact most of her neighbours had to evacuate their homes due to the high water levels. The flood waters covered the ground where Sophoan’s chicken enclosure now stands and the water destroyed her rice crop and home garden. For Sophoan a single mother caring for her young son, the floods were catastrophic as she had little food and no crops for future food and income.
Over 1.2 million people were affected by the floods in southern Cambodia in 2011 and around 10 per cent of crops were destroyed. In a country where regular harvests are a vital source of family food and income the impact of ruined crops was huge. CARE recognised the strain the floods put on families like Sophoan’s and partnered with her community to help them immediately after the floods but also to rebuild their livelihoods in the longer term.
Sophoan received emergency food supplies from CARE so that she and her son had enough to eat in the days and months following the floods. These essential supplies included rice, cooking oil, fish and fortified blended food to ensure the family were able to meet their nutritional requirements when a range of food was scarce.
CARE also provided rice seeds to help her grow rice crops again, support to re-establish her home garden and training and start up resources to raise chickens. Sophoan’s chicken enclosure is clean, her flock are healthy and she takes great care looking after them. She has already started to earn an income from her home garden and will keep the chicks and raise them to sell as well.
With a little support Sophoan has been able to recover from the impact of the floods. She has great hopes for the future and wants to remain in her village and continue to look after her family. “I will encourage my son to go to school and instruct him how to raise poultry” Sohpoan says with confidence. Under her careful supervision the family’s chicken raising business is sure to be a success.