World Vision Laos
article • Tuesday, March 1st 2016

Seeds of empowerment: a rural woman’s fight against poverty

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“I come to my garden every day to water the plants, pull out weeds and prepare the soil. I love the work that I am doing right now because it brings a good income to my family,” said Phone, 43-year-old.

“My name is Phone, I am 43 years old. I have 4 children and a husband. Primary school is my highest level of education. Three years after dropping out, I got married- that was life in rural areas. I have the lives of 5 other people on my shoulders. My husband falls ill every year so I am responsible for working and earning an income."

Phone lives in Thapangthong district. She has always planted vegetables, but only enough for her family.

Learning new techniques

In 2013, World Vision and the district authorities in Thapangthong conducted a study tour on home gardens in the province of Savannakhet.

It was used as an opportunity to understand the needs of communities and serve as a learning tool.

Training, equipment and seeds were provided to select families in villages from Thapangthong programme area. Families learned how to grow and protect crops, prepare the soil, and make organic fertilizer.

“I had given up hope for a better future. Today, I am confident in what is yet to come because of this income generating garden."

Today, walking through villages in Thapangthong, you can see gardens full of long beans, corn, eggplant, spring onions, morning glory, and much more.

Phone was among those chosen to participate in this project and is now able to grow crops twice a year, no matter the season.  

“In just 4 months, I can harvest the vegetables from my garden and earn an income of around 4,000,000kip (USD$500) from markets and neighbors,” Phone says.

“This garden has changed the way I earn an income. It gives my family a better life. With the money I have saved from selling vegetables, I opened a small shop in my house where I sell some food and drinks,” the mother adds.

“I had given up hope for a better future. Working alone and not having enough money to support my family left me questioning what would become of us. Today, I am confident in what is yet to come because of this income generating garden,” she says with a smile.  

World Vision has also worked with Phone’s village in other sectors to help bring sustainable ways to alleviate poverty. A clean water pump, latrines, a village medicine cabinet, development and vaccination funds and a school library have all been initiated in this village for people to be safer and better prepared for the future.

Empowering a woman means empowering an entire community! Want to meet more empowered women?

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