Economic Empowerment of Women Through Small Business

Mrs. Keo Sokheun is a 52-year old divorced woman with 2 sons; a 24 and 28-year-old, as well as a grandson. She is a food vendor from Tuol Roka 1 village. She is a member of GCT’s Women’s Group, where women are encouraged and trained in business and leadership skills. The GCT staff directly responsible for Mrs. Sokheun’s case is Field Officer Mrs. Ouk Sreymom. Mrs. Sreymom regularly visits Mrs. Sokheun to understand her problems and encourage her to work hard to take care of herself and her family. Mrs. Sokheun’s was taken advantaged of by her ex- husband; looked down upon by her village members and relatives; and disrespected by her sons. Much of the conflicts come from her relatives.

Through a series of business training and continual support and encouragement from GCT’s Women’s Group, Mrs. Sokheun gradually regained her confidence. She also had the ambition to improve her small food vending business. After GCT asked Mrs. Sokheun precisely what she wanted for her new company, GCT helped her write a simple business plan and facilitated her loan process with Partner Pioneer Cambodia (PPC) to get the necessary loan to renovate Mrs. Sokheun’s small food business. This past April, Mrs. Sokheun used her savings, plus the USD 1000 loan granted, to expand her business from only a tiny table to now a new solid metal roof and concrete. Her food shop is right next to the village walkway, so villagers would regularly pass by. She is thankful and hopeful for the success of her newly improved shop. She believes that her food will sell well because they will be clean and healthy. From the support of GCT, the village members, especially Mrs. Sokheun’s relatives have resolved their disputes regarding the shop renovation. Many have also begun to think positively about Mrs. Sokheun and her ideas. She is not afraid to speak her mind, even if it involves her relatives. Mrs. Keo Sokheun has begun to increase her daily income. GCT’s team is helping her further manage and understand her finances and how to develop her business.