Thanks to the support of our donors, we have been able to continue to bring sustainable farming to another family in the countryside. By implementing these aquaponic systems, we have been able to help empower local farmers free themselves from subsistence and provide them with a way to improve their family’s nutrition all year round.
At fifty years old, Mrs. Neat Tay (Pictured above with one of her daughters) is a widow and mother of five. She can read and write just enough for us to work with her, but had to discontinue her education because of the war that had occurred in Cambodia. Her husband died ten years ago in a motorcycle accident. Such traffic accidents are unfortunately the number one cause of death today with the country now at peace.
Three of her children have married, and each has given her a grandchild. Her two youngest children, a 16 year old girl and a 19 year old boy, live with her full time and help her farm the family's five acre rice field. Tay spends all her time on subsistence agriculture, while her children help out with small jobs, bringing home just enough money to buy the few necessities they can’t farm or manufacture themselves at home. Because of this, all of her children have had to stop their education at the primary school level.
Aside from the rice fields, the entire family’s assets consist of two small motorbikes and a humble thatch house that they have made into home (Pictured below). Tay actually manufactures the shingles of her home’s walls herself using dried palm leaves, and sells the extra ones for so little money that we could not even express it in US dollars.
Recently, two of her married children have gotten in traffic accidents. Both had to come back home to her, along with their respective husbands and child to recover. As a result, Tay has a lot on her hands right now and worries about one thing only: making it through the day by feeding everyone. So, the aquaponic system is a welcome ray of sunshine in otherwise dark times for the Neat family.
Tay is also acutely aware of the fact that what she manages to feed her family is not enough, especially for the grandchildren. Inside her home she stores children’s vitamins and calcium supplements for them to take. By teaching her how to farm with aquaponics, we are bringing her a long-lasting solution to her family’s malnutrition.
Children in Cambodia are so malnourished that 40% of them have their growth stunted causing cognitive and other developmental issues. The Neat family is an archetypal example of poverty and human suffering in Cambodia which we are determined to help turn into an inspiring success story of human resilience with the aid of her aquaponic system.
The family now has options for the future, but there is still a long way to go. Mrs. Neat Tay, with continued educational support from Community First, is upbeat and hopeful that things will get better for herself and her family.