Mr. Danh Guong, 35, a Khmer project participant of Improving the Livelihood of vulnerable families in the Mekong Delta, and his wife Vo Thi Mang, also 35, have got married since 2000 and live in a small house in Giong Rieng district, Kien Giang province. When we visited them, they told us about their effort in how to get a stable livelihood since they joined Heifer project in 2014.
After marriage, they had to live with his parents as they were poor and had nothing to have a unindependent life. One year after that, they were given one and a half acre of exhausted rice land and then their daughter and son in turn were welcomed. As they earned not enough income from growing rice for their family and they had to work as hired labors for more income.
In 2014, they were still in difficulty and were introduced to join Heifer project by local authorities. At first, their family receive a heifer, 1 million VND for building cow shed and technical and non-technical trainings such as 12 Cornerstones, PSRP, PLD, group visioning, group management, HIV, animal husbandry management, integrated farming, market access, human nutrition management, human health, gender equity, environment protection, climate change etc.
In 2015, they borrowed 2 million VND from Heifer’s revolving fund to buy two female piglets for husbandry. With the hard work, the couple could make a profit of 16 million VND a year from raising sows. When their neighbors did not belive that they could raise sows with two 2 million VND borrowed from the project, they said, “If you know how to solve the trouble, such amount of money can make more millions VND and if not, you will fail although you have ten millions VND for it”.
In 2016, there were long draught hitting the Mekong delta, drying rice and fodder, which caused shortage of natural fodder for cows in the region. Thanks to participating in Heifer trainings before the draught, they were well prepared for cow feed. They had stored rice straws to feed their cows sufficiently.
In 2017, their son Danh Tien, in grade 8, took advantage of the pond near their house to raise ducks in summer holiday for more income. He raised 30 ducks and earned a profit of 3 million VND and had some ducks to feed his family for more nutrition.
Though they are very busy with the livestock, they are very responsible for project implementation. Their family is one of active members in their group, joining all project actitivies like monthly meeting, contributing money to group saving, participating in trainings, learning and sharing experience in livestock husbandry. Now they end their poverty and take good care of their children. Guong said, “I hope my children will become good people who has stable jobs and independent lives by themselves”. Their children understand the difficulty they face and try to study hard and get scholarship each year.
At present, they make an annual income of 36,400,000 VND from growing rice, and 37,500,000 VND from raising roasters. And 5 months ago, they sold two calves at the price of 14,500,000 VND. In addition, they In general, they earn about 88,400,000 VND a year. Their family now has 7 cows which produce at least 3 calves a year. Guong said, “I don’t believe in what I have today. Although I am not a rich man, I am confident to do my future business. I thank Heifer for supporting my family and others to have such a livelihood and a new life”.