In Cambodia, palm trees are used in all kinds of ways. The tall stalks act as landmarks, designating a family’s home and property. Its fruit is used to make delicious “fish amok” — a traditional Khmer dish featuring rich, creamy coconut curry. And when you pull apart the different strands of the palm leaf, you can bend and twist it upon itself to create the traditional craft of a rather lifelike locust.
Cambodians use palm trees for all kinds of good things.
But when palm leaves are used to thatch a family’s roof? This isn’t so good. Palm-thatched roofs struggle to do their job — so during the rainy season, children and families get wet, they get sick and they constantly worry about the state of their home.
But for so many of the families Holt supports in Cambodia, palm is the only resource they have to build their roofs.
“During the rainy season, it was leaking, which made them feel uncomfortable or they could not sleep if it rained at night time,” says Eng Dalin, a program officer for one of Holt’s on-the-ground partners in Cambodia. “It was not strong enough to protect against strong wind or storms.”
So with the support from Holt sponsors and supporters, our staff in Cambodia identified 18 families in greatest need, and fortified their homes.
Not only were palm-thatched roofs replaced with tin, but we also replaced thatched walls of families’ homes. Some families already had tin roofs, but they were almost entirely rusted through.
The difference is incredible! These repairs will keep families dry and healthy during the upcoming rainy season — and for many rainy seasons to come. This added stability also has huge implications for each and every one of these families. Because children won’t get sick as often, they won’t miss as much school. And parents can save the money they would have used on home repairs to work toward greater financial stability.
Look through the “before and after” photos of these family’s homes to see the incredible transformations!
*One family’s home not pictured