Children playing educational games at Child Club. Photo by Angela Cornish/ARGUS
In January 2016 three aspiring photographers from Griffith University’s Queensland College of Art had the opportunity to partner with World Vision – we travelled to Cambodia for our Documentary Photography in-field trip. We visited World Vision projects and met the local people who are benefiting from them.
World Vision support community driven initiatives which empower people to take control of their own futures. The goal is to create sustainable programs which are run by locals. World Vision provide training, education and supply materials to support families and communities all over Cambodia.
Child Club is a World Vision supported program run by volunteers within the community. In Cambodia children go to school either in the morning or afternoon – so the Child Club is a safe place children can continue their education. Children spend their time reading and drawing as well as playing educational games. World Vision supply books, games, drawing and craft materials and their staff deliver information sessions on child protection.
Lay Yen is a mother of give whose children often visit Child Club. We visited Yen’s farm, which is just a short walk from Child Club. In just four months Yen has raised the 15 chickens supplied by World Vision and bred 50 more. Each chicken sells for approximately $1.50 USD. World Vision provided her with the materials she needed to build a chicken coop, and agricultural training to start off her small farm. Yen is also now growing eggplant and string beans, adding an extra $1 USD per day to her family’s income.
While World Vision provide supplies and knowledge to establish a farm, harvest success still depends on the weather and a bit of luck. Ry Samrach’s first eggplant crop was a success, earning him and his family $750 USD. However, his village received very little rain during the dry season. The eggplants shrivelled, losing him a potential $500 USD. Not one to be beaten, Samrach ploughed a new field close to a stream at the back of his property, a move which enabled some income but which costs more time, money and effort than using his usual spot. World Vision has provided him with a pump and plastic piping to install a drip irrigation system. He and his wife Rouen Sokhom wasted no time in making it happen.
A farm that has flourished is Som Oun’s – it is lush with spinach and honeydew melon. Oun and his wife Teng Tin have been farming for ten years, six of those with the support of World Vision. Now Oun is eager to pass his knowledge on to other farmers like Yen and Samrach who are just getting started. Oun is also the leader of his village’s Savings Group. Members buy shares priced at $2.50USD, and all shareholders are entitled to borrow money to kickstart their own small business. The money is paid back with a two per cent per month interest rate over five months. Oun’s Savings Group has made $1000 USD in capitol in just eight months.
The success of the community driven initiatives that we witnessed prove that people want to help themselves, and given the right skills and knowledge, they thrive. The people we met are invested in the well-being not just of their own families, but of their whole community.