How the Gift of Hope of chickens changed one family’s life in Cambodia.
Before chickens. After chickens.
For Chan and her family, this is one way you could categorize life over the past two years. Because after they received chickens, everything changed.
Just 38 years old, Chan was the widowed mother of four children. She became a mother at a young age, so two of her children were already grown and married. Her younger children, Akra and Akara, were 14 and 10 years old. But all of them lived together in their small stilted home in Cambodia.
They lived in poverty, with no true means of reliable income. Many days they ate very little food — or sometimes no food at all. And there were no extra funds. Not even for school supplies, uniforms or school fees for Akra and Akara.
This was life before chickens.
But then, one day in 2019, they received a generous, transformative and feathered Gift of Hope: Chickens.
Chickens can do so much for a family living in poverty. They provide eggs and meat — vital protein to feed children and help them overcome malnutrition. They can also become the means of a family business. Over time, as a family’s flock grows, there will be a surplus of eggs and chicks. These can be sold to neighbors and at the market as a source of income that keeps growing and growing, eventually uplifting a family from poverty altogether.
This was exactly Chan’s plan. Chickens would become the family business.
When Holt Cambodia gave Chan this Gift of Hope, they also gave her the tools and training she needed to make the very most of it. She began a training course all about raising chickens. She learned how to keep them healthy and raise them for optimal egg production. She also received a microloan so that she could invest in medicines and fencing and chicken feed and everything else she needed to begin.
One of the best parts about Gifts of Hope is that they invest into a family’s future. For Chan and her children, this meant that once their chicken business was up and running, they would be self-reliant and safe for years to come. But it would take several months or more to get here. So in the meantime, Holt Cambodia did all they could to help. They enrolled Akra and Akara in school, providing them with the uniforms, school supplies, books and more that they needed to study. And when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Cambodia, Chan and her family received several shipments of emergency food.
They still needed help some extra help in the interim. But before long, they will have the security to be completely independent. This is because Chan’s business is growing.
Today, not only does Chan own chickens, but she’s also invested in some ducks. She has plans to increase her flock to include 20 chickens and 20 ducks — all of whom will lay eggs. Now, every day, their family has nutritious and filling meals. Already, with the additional eggs, chicks and ducklings, Chan is making between $65 to $90 dollars each month.
“Now, this family has access to three meals per day with delicious food and safe drinking water,” says Holt Cambodia staff. “They are healthier, the children keep warm and they have enough study materials. The family even has some cash to pay for any urgent needs. The family is so thankful to [Holt] donors.”
Chan and her children aren’t hungry anymore, they have regular income, and are starting to dream about a better future.
This is their life after chickens.