A gift of chickens reunites a family

A gift that reunites a family

In a shelter built by wood with thatch roof lives a family of three: Socheata and her parents. Socheata is six years old girl from Tma Pouk Area Programme, Cambodia.

In Cambodia’s rural areas, the growth of animal husbandry is still limited due to climate change and lack of resources, technical knowledge, and market access. This has affected food security, income, and livelihoods of families living on agriculture.

Due to low and unstable income, most farmers decide to move to Thailand to look for jobs with higher income to support their families. Socheata’s parents made the same decision, leaving behind their daughter under her grandmother’s care.

Socheata's mum shared, "The trip to Thailand was very tough for us. We needed to cross the border, avoid the police, and cross rivers."

Socheata's mum added, "We spent around 7,000 Thai baht for the brokers to bring us there."

Socheata's parents spent years in Thailand. However, the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in 2020 and drive many workers out of work. Socheata's parents decided to return to Cambodia.  

World Vision’s programmes contribute to the improvement of economic resilience and sufficient nutrition of poor households. Building Resilience through Animal Gift (BRAG) was implemented in the northwest of Cambodia in four districts of Banteay Meanchey province.

The project worked with relevant stakeholders such as animal health experts, departments of agriculture at provincial and district levels, village animal health workers, animal suppliers, input suppliers, and local authorities to boost animal production and ensure food security among community people, including returning migrants from Thailand who lost their jobs due to COVID-19. Socheata's parents were among the beneficiaries of BRAG Project.

Socheata's mum said, "The project is very helpful. Before, when I raised 10 to 20 chickens, they all died before I could sell them. After joining the project taught me how to prevent that and provided me with chickens, chicken feed, other needed materials, and medicine."

Within four years, BRAG Project has supported poor households, especially the most vulnerable ones, by distributing 15,370 chickens, 567 pigs, and 483 cows, which benefits 1,291 households, including over 3,000 children.

The project collaborates with the provincial department of agriculture, district department of agriculture, village animal health workers, agricultural cooperatives, and local suppliers.

Village animal health workers play an active and crucial role in equipping farmers with knowledge and skills in animal raising and veterinary care. More importantly, farmers have gained knowledge in finding markets and networks for animal production.

Mean Hai, a village animal health worker, said, "I am very happy that this project is initiated in my community and I think it is coming to the right place. Farmers received a lot from World Vision and they never forget how World Vision has always helped and supported them."

With better techniques, farmers can raise healthy livestock, enough for daily consumption and sale, generating more income to sustain their families. In addition, those incomes can help them support their children's education and pay for healthcare for other family members. 

Healthy livestock ensure well-being for children

 

Socheata's mum added, "My chickens produce eggs and chicks and I can sell chickens for income to support my family, cook better food, and buy school supplies for Socheata." 

The farmers in the project have shared their animals and knowledge with other low-income families.

Sreng Chea, a World Vision staff, shared, "There are markets for all products from the farmers. Before, they worried that they could not sell them, but now we have a village market. This means whenever farmers have a product for sale, it will be bought at their community and will be processed for sale at bigger markets."

Tor Mesa, vice-chief of animal dealth and production office shared, "We also have different animal raising groups including chicken, pig, and cow across the districts in four focus areas."  

Socheata's family is among 1,291 animal recipients through the BRAG to improve their economic resilience.

Socheata's mum said, "We will not move to Thailand. Here we can raise chickens and support our family."

Socheata shared, "I am happy when my parents are here. My mum cooks chicken soup and that is nice. I like it."

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Story and photos by Dara Chhim