Vun, 35, has worked in a garment factory on the outskirts of Phnom Penh since 2010. Today, she is a quality assurance officer and is able to earn enough to meet her family’s needs, but this was not always the case; when she first came to Phnom Penh Vun was heavily in debt and unsure how to pull her family out of this.
I am one of eight siblings and my family could not afford to support my education so I dropped out of school in Grade 2. I never had the opportunity to learn anything that would help me to manage my money.
“After I got married I opened a small business to try to support our family. Unfortunately, the business went bankrupt and I had to borrow money—we ended up $3000 in debt. In 2010, we decided to move to Phnom Penh to find jobs to support the family and pay back this debt.
I started work as a garment worker and my husband became a moto taxi driver. But we still struggled to meet our daily expenses and pay back the money we owed.”
In 2013, Vun became a peer educator, trained by CARE to conduct awareness sessions on key life skills topics. As well as reproductive health, maternal and child health, food nutrition and hygiene, Vun also learned about financial literacy and how to better manage her finances.
The revised financial literacy training approach focuses on understanding daily spending limit, prioritising, and recording expenses, to avoid debt, and how to manage family expectations.
“After I participated in this training, the biggest change in my life has been what the financial literacy knowledge has enabled me to do. It helped me to pay back our debt day by day until we had paid it all off. I can now manage my daily expenses and prioritise our needs so we live within our income and I have also developed a savings plan. Being able to plan our finances has enabled me to lead our family out of debt and improve our lifestyle.
“I am so very happy that I decided to volunteer as a peer educator because through this I have had the opportunity to gain knowledge which has had a huge impact on our life,” Vun concludes. With financial planning skills, her life is now much more stable and her family’s situation is more secure.
These activities are part of Sewing for Brighter Future project, which is funded by the LEVI STRAUSS FOUNDATION.