This Life Cambodia Makes Each Life Count

This Life Cambodia (or TLC as it is known), is a B1G1 project focused on educational development that directly benefits the lives of children, youth and their communities in Cambodia. If you could sum up their philosophy in one simple sentence, it would be this:

“Supporting families to generate a stable income relieves the need for children to contribute their labour, and reduces school dropout rates.”

In Cambodia, as in many other parts of our world, not having a livelihood, landlessness, debt, and life in remote inaccessible areas with high rates of unemployment are all factors that contribute to a family’s inability to generate sustainable income. Just the fundamental education of their children is extremely challenging. Children in Cambodia are often on the brink of (or have already) dropped out of school, and the top reason cited by families is “they must contribute to our family income.”

“This is how the Family Support Project of This Life Cambodia was born,” Executive Director Billy Gorter told us.“Our primary aim is to work with families to identify their existing strengths and knowledge base in order to devise an activity or small-scale business that generates a sustainable income. Each business is unique to the family, and depends on a variety of factors including age, ability, skill sets, property arrangements, and accessibility to markets.”

By providing resources, assets, small sum cash-transfer and technical advice and guidance, This Life Cambodia helps these local initiatives to become financially viable. Examples of some of their family income generation activities include raising chickens, ducks, and pigs…selling fruit & groceries…actually growing fruits & vegetables…and basket or silk weaving.

“We also have a sister initiative to safeguard access to schooling,” Billy added. “Children within the family are provided with Educational Scholarships. Through the provision of practical assistance − namely a bicycle for transportation, tuition fees, school uniforms and study materials and resources − this initiative aims to relieve the financial burden of education for families while they’re still in the initial stages of business set-up.”

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One of This Life Cambodia’s Programs: Pedalling Out of Poverty

Hena is one such mother. Devoid of money and support, she and her children faced several problems trying to generate a stable income and maintain her children’s attendance at school. Her circumstances looked bleak and “tears were shed” whenever she thought about her family’s future. Fortunately they were selected to become beneficiaries of TLC’s Family Support Project. Hena’s son and daughter, currently in grade 3 and 6 respectively, were supported through educational scholarships which enable them to attend school “regularly and happily”.

To enhance Hena’s ability to generate an income, she was also provided with a bicycle that allowed her to transport fish and groceries from a distant market seven kilometres away. Furthermore, she was granted $125 (USD) as start-up capital for a small grocery shop from which she is able to earn, on average, 25,000 riel (which is about $7 USD) per day towards the upkeep of her family.

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Hena and her family

 

Over time, as a result of TLC’s support and B1G1 contributions, Hena feels in her own words, “relief from being depressed and valuably recognised within her community”. She is extremely happy and proud as her children graduate through each of their educational milestones, and her business has grown from strength to strength. She is now able to sustain her children’s education without TLC’s assistance, sound in the knowledge that they have hope and opportunity for their future.

And that in a word is ‘TLC’…This Life Cambodia.

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Discover some of This Life Cambodia’s projects with B1G1:

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Light Up a Life with Solar | From US $0.04

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Send a Student to University | From US $1.12

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Sponsor a Bicycle | From US $0.04

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About Ted Schellenberg

Ted is truly warm-hearted journalist caring most about all the great stories from the B1G1 Partners. Ted’s stories always get to heart of what B1G1 is about — ‘ordinary’ businesses doing extraordinary things and making a real difference in the process.

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