Five years ago, Yoeurn’s neighbours didn’t think she amounted to much. She admits she was a little bit lazy and didn’t do much other than a few household chores and keeping a pig that roamed freely nearby. Living at home with two sisters and three nieces, people in the community didn’t pay much attention to her.
Today Yoeurn’s life is totally different. She plays a central role at the heart of daily life in her village. She is involved with everything from community saving groups and committees to acting as an advisor to local farmers and offering veterinary services.
Yoeurn can pinpoint the exact day that her prospects changed. “I passed a garden in a nearby village where I noticed the owner had a really successful vegetable crop,” she says. “I asked what the secret was and they said there was no magic solution—it was all about learning the correct techniques and putting effort into following these correctly.
“Before I thought growing pigs or vegetables was just a small task to do at home that wouldn’t make any profit so I wasn’t interested in training. But when I saw how this was earning others money, I wanted to try again.
“CARE was offering training on livestock raising in my village so I decided to make the most of this. Before joining this I had raised my pig for a year and a half but only made $30. After attending CARE’s training and applying myself I can now make $200 after just six months!”
Once Yoeurn started succeeding in her efforts, she went from strength to strength. Having shown her dedication and proved her abilities by significantly increasing her income, Yoeurn was invited to attend training in advanced skills and how to teach these to others. She is now a demonstration farmer and can pass on these skills to others who want to follow her lead.
She also proved herself to be very capable when assisting with vaccinating livestock so was elected to receive training as a Village Animal Health Worker. This allows Yoeurn to earn extra income providing veterinary services in her community—which in turn helps ensure her neighbours’ livestock thrive. Yoeurn has jumped on every opportunity to develop her skills offered by CARE. No longer overlooked by her neighbours, Yoeurn speaks out confidently about the impact this has had on her position in the community.
“Earning income is not just about helping family; if women have skills they can use these to help others,” she says. “When women have skills to earn income they are valued and respected. Now my neighbours are interested in what I’m doing; they encourage me and many people are kind to me. I feel very happy – I never imagined I could achieve this.”
This is all the result of Yoeurn’s hard work—CARE simply provided her with skills and knowledge to help her shine. Her success is an example of why CARE invests in empowering women, so that more people like Yoeurn have the opportunity to fulfil their potential.
These activities are part of the Local Economic Leadership (LEL) project, which funded by the Australian Government.