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Reference : V-P-KH-E-00348
Date : 2016
Country/Region : CAMBODIA
Caption : Battambang province. The ICRC provides financial assistance to disabled people wishing to set up small business with their families. After an accident damaged her spinal chord in 2003, Ngov Chreb, with her husband, travels around town selling coffee from her tuk-tuk.
Photographer : s.n.
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : ICRC
Description : ICRC website article, 04.03.2016: “Cambodia: New livelihoods for people with disabilities. Ngov Chreb and Laim Sophara both suffered spinal injuries that changed their lives for ever. After years of suffering the effects of disability, they have both found new lives and livelihoods thanks to a project providing financial assistance to disabled people. Until an accident in 2003 damaged her spinal chord, Ngov Chreb ran a small business from her house which earned enough money to support the whole family. Her injury meant she could no longer work and all her savings were spent on treatment fees. Without a regular income, Ngov's family had to depend on her husband's meagre five dollars a day earned from casual construction work. A year after the accident, Ngov went to the ICRC-supported Regional Physical Rehabilitation Centre in Battambang where she was fitted with an orthotic that allowed her to walk again, albeit slowly, without the aid of walking frame. In 2012, after more than seven years of treatment at the centre, Ngov decided to take a risk and join the Cambodian Women's Wheelchair Basketball team. "I'm happy to have joined the basketball team and practice regularly. I've made new friends and can talk about the problems each of us has to face. More importantly, my health has become a lot better," she said.
A dream fulfilled. Ngov's life changed again for the better in December 2015 after hearing about the ICRC's micro-economic initiative (MEI) programme that helps people in need start their own business. She applied and won a grant which she used to set up a mobile coffee shop. Each day both she and her husband wake up at 4 a.m. to get the shop ready for customers by 7 a.m. "It's no bother waking up so early. What matters to me is that I can work again. It has long been our dream to have our own business," she said while riding on a scooter specially designed for people with disabilities. Ngov's business is doing well, selling up to 50 cups of coffee per day. "Some of my clients are even foreign tourists," she said with a smile. The family can now rent a proper house and send their ten-year-old daughter to primary school. Ngov's future plans include adding other kinds of drinks to the menus, such as fruit juices and soft drinks, to attract non-coffee-drinking customers.
Making a difference. Raised in a farming family, Laim Sophara (33) is another beneficiary of the MEI programme. At the age of six, Laim fell from a hill and damaged her spinal chord, after which she was confined to a wheelchair and dependent on her parents and everyone else around her. Life for Laim changed in 2014 when, like Ngov, she became a patient at the Battambang Regional Physical Rehabilitation Centre. Here she witnessed other disabled people who were making a difference in their lives, able to work and even take up sports. In January 2015 Laim, like Ngov, joined the Cambodian Women's Wheelchair Basketball team. "Before, I was rather negative about everything, but after I joined the team, seeing friends, doing activities, my life and health got better," she said. Then, in November 2015, Laim and her parents decided to apply for a grant from the MEI programme to help them set up a mushroom farm – a very popular business in their village. They soon got the approval to start it. "Now my life is a lot better," she said. "I'm enjoying myself because I can earn some money." Laim harvests between 5 and 10 kg of mushrooms per day and sells them in the market for one dollar per kg, so far earning more than USD 100.
To help integrate disabled people back into society and enable them to achieve sustainable incomes, in 2015 the ICRC launched its Micro Economic Initiatives (MEI) project in Battambang province, Cambodia. The project provides financial assistance to disabled people wishing to set up small businesses with their families. Every two weeks MEI staff visit the families to follow up on the projects. Currently, eight families have received assistance from the ICRC in starting up their new livelihoods. Given the success of the project and the warm welcome from families who feel more secure about their living conditions, the ICRC in 2016 hopes to add 20 new families to the programme. “
Resolution : 5472x3648
Orientation : landscape
Colour/B&W : black and white