by Leng Thy
Living in Atsue village, Sombor Commune, Prasth Sombor District, Kompong Thom Province, Mrs. Morm Khy, a 55-year-old- widow is dreaming to own a cow one day to help her family farm the small plot of land that was left in her possession after a divorce in 1995. The divorce left her only with 1000 square meters of rice land and three young children. Since then, she became the breadwinner of the family and all the heavy burden of caring her children fell on her. To supplement the 72 kg of rice she harvested from her very small plot of land, Morm Khy has to work as farm laborer where she earns a meager wage of 5000 reils or $1.25 per day.
One year later, in 1996 her hope was restored as she joins a Christian community in her village. That group of people provides her a lot of support, even inviting her to be a member of the cow raising group project. Being one of the poorest families in the group, Morn Khy was chosen to be the one of first recipients of the cow gift loan from CHAD. She said that since owning a cow her situation has changed significantly. First and foremost, she benefits from building a good relationship with her neighbors who help her feel that she is not alone and who stood by her side during times of troubles and difficulties. For Morn Khy, owning a cow means she only needs to borrow one cow from her neighbor in order plow her field and transport firewood from the forest to her house. In the same way, she told that owning a cow also gives her the ability and opportunity to help her neighbors by letting them borrow her cow. According to her, she saves 30,000 riels for transporting firewood and about 1,500 riels/day for vegetables she harvest from her garden that has been fertilized by manure from her cow.
Another benefit she mentioned from owning a cow is it affords her to be more productive or keep her busy at home. For instance, with cow manure she started doing compost, clean area surrounding her house, do vegetable gardening--watering, cultivating the soil, and fertilizing it. According to her these works help her overcome her boredom, and also make her to become industrious. She said, “these benefits also enable me to send my 18-year-old youngest son in school till now.” With her smile, she expresses her joy even though she is working hard, Morm Khy said that she would like to say thank you for all the support from my church and the cow raising group that chose me to be first person to receive the cow gift loan from CHAD.