Today's CARE Package: Mai's Story

Today's CARE Package: Mai's Story

One of the original CARE Packages© contained agricultural supplies and farming tools.

Today, CARE delivers lasting change by training farmers on crop diversification and more efficient growing techniques that result in greater yields, increased income and a better future for their families.

Mai, who lives in a small Cambodian village in Koh Kong province, is the farmer in her household. For years, she used traditional farming techniques and had mixed results. Her husband’s job as the village chief was the family’s main source of income. But everything changed when Mai joined a local group of women farmers supported by CARE.

CARE shared new, integrative techniques with the women, helping them turn their small home farms into successful businesses where nothing goes to waste. For example, Mai now uses manure from her pigs and chickens as fertilizer for her vegetable plots, which are thriving and earning up to $35 a day. She raises fish in the pond that provides water for her garden. She also took the initiative to start producing rice wine, using the byproducts from the fermentation process to feed her pigs and chickens. Recently, she sold six pigs and 30 chickens for a profit of $500.

Overall, the family’s income has doubled since Mai has incorporated all of CARE’s training into her family’s daily routines. Her husband takes time from his chief duties to transport vegetables to sell in village shops to help get the best possible return for Mai’s efforts. He also helps with the weeding, feeding the pigs or mucking out the pig sties.

Even the couple’s children have become involved, taking responsibility for tending to the herb garden. Mai makes sure the income is put toward their school expenses, helping them get an education and prepare for their own bright futures.

The ripple effects of CARE’s training are evident throughout Mai’s village. She and her fellow female farmers gather to discuss what vaccinations they need for their animals – knowledge they gained from CARE’s training. The group then saves money by buying vaccines in bulk and administering these themselves.

Mai’s success has made her a leader, as people from other villages have begun to approach her for advice on how to raise better crops and how to link with local markets. Thanks to training from CARE, an entrepreneurial spirit and lots of hard work, Mai and other women farmers are ensuring a more profitable, secure future for their families and their communities.