For much of his working life, Doung Ret was mired in poverty and struggling to earn more than 30p a day.

His efforts to grow crops in Cambodia were too often stymied by floods, droughts or invasions of insects and his lack of knowledge about the best farming practices didn’t help either. According to a Cambodian government ranking system, Doung’s family were among the poorest. 

Much has changed since Tearfund partner World Renew started work in Doung’s village. Through them the Kompong Phnom Church introduced the concept of savings groups to the village and Doung Ret joined one. As well as learning about saving, he and other members were trained about new ways of doing agriculture.

Soon, Doung Ret’s crops began to have better yields. Later, he used a loan from the savings group to buy a motorbike and a trailer which he and his wife use to collect fruit and vegetables from others in the village in order to sell it in large quantities. 

His family is able to make a good profit through this activity, as much as £10 a day and they are no longer among the poorest families in the village. As well as his physical change in circumstances, Doung Ret is exploring his spiritual outlook by attending church and has committed to do his best as a local leader to help others in the community.

According to the World Bank, rural poverty remains a big challenge in Cambodia, with 90 per cent of the country’s poor living in the countryside.

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