For women with limited education and numerous family responsibilities, earning additional income can be challenging. CARE’s Young Women in Business project offers mothers like Man Tier, 32, the chance to learn new skills and inspires them to start their own money-making initiatives.
Tier’s husband works as a construction worker in a nearby town while she stays at home to look after her two children. With limited skills and no form of transport out of her village, she had struggled to contribute to the family’s finances―she kept one pig but did not know how to care for this properly so that it could be sold for a good price.
Following training on livestock rearing and small business management, Tier became much more confident about raising livestock effectively, improving her pigpen and adding a mother pig which she received from CARE. She has been very careful about saving money to purchase good quality food to ensure that her pigs grow well and the sow produces healthy piglets which she can sell.
Tier was also selected to be a demo farmer, planting a small vegetable garden alongside her house to grow produce to sell at the market. Before project staff had shown her the benefits of this and helped her to prepare her garden, Tier had never considered that she might be able to make money so close to her home. She now proudly shows the range of vegetables she is growing in a neat enclosure beside her house.
Tier is very positive about how she has been able to increase her income through growing vegetables. Within just a few months, she was able to harvest her morning glory for sale 10 times, earning 20,000 riel (USD$5) each time. The additional income of $50 from the sale of just one of the types of vegetable she grows has been very welcome and inspired her to continue planting even more seeds. Having fresh vegetables available right outside the door also helps to ensure her family has a full balanced diet, which has improved their nutrition.
The eighth of 11 siblings, Tier dropped out of school at Grade 4 to help in the house and work planting in the fields, so she has very low levels of literacy. At the time, she did not feel she needed any more education, but now she regrets this. Having attended the project’s small business training and also joined a community-led savings group facilitated by CARE, Tier is very proud of her ability to keep track of her money effectively.
Tier is very happy that she is able to work around her home, as she is still able to care for her children while earning income. However, it is not just her ability to earn money and improve her family’s standard of living that Tier has gained from her involvement with CARE. She says that this has also resulted in her husband supporting her activities; it is clear that this in particular has increased her self esteem.
This shows how valuable the economic empowerment of women is for all aspects of their lives.