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22 June 2021 - Story

Unconditional cash rebuilding hope and resilient livelihoods for the poor

With a smiling face wearing a green T-shirt, 76-year old Say Douk, is a single man working every day to take care of his small vegetable farm.

Say Douk lives on his own in Thmar Kaul district, Battambang province. His wife passed away many years ago and his children got married and moved away. Living some distance from the village, Douk’s home is an old shelter lent by a neighbour, situated on a small plot of land 25x30m. Like other villagers, the flood of 2020 also destroyed his crops. Describing the difficult situation, he faced, Mr. Douk explained, “My small house was severely flooded for about a month. While flood waters started to recede in other parts of the village it was prolonged in my place because it is a lowland area. All my home vegetables in the garden completely rotted. I felt so bad and lost hope because I had no income to survive, I couldn’t even buy food. I am alone and could not rely on my children as they were also struggling. Due to COVID-19 I could not go out for work in the village like I used to". 

Douk relies solely on the earnings from his garden, to meet his day-to-day living requirements, planting a variety of vegetables such as corn, pumpkin, basil and so on, on this piece of land. Normally, he sells his vegetables to the local villagers generating a daily income of 4,000 Riels to 7,000 Riels ($1 to $1.75) but after his crops were damaged last year, he had no income. “I borrowed 30,000 riels ($7.50) from my neighbour to pay for pumping water from my compound so that I could start planting vegetables again. At that time, I was almost in trouble as my only source of income was completely lost. I was also in debt and I had no hope”, said Douk.  

With support from Haga International as a partner of Save the Children, with funding from ECHO, Douk was selected to receive a cash transfer through a beneficiary selection process conducted by his village leader and commune authority together with Hagar staff. The village leader told Douk he was selected for the cash transfer and asked for his phone number and told him to wait for a message and a code that would allow him to collect the cash.  Soon later, Douk received the message and code and collected the $50 from the nearest Wing agent. 

With a happy expression, Douk described his pleasure at being selected for the cash grant. “I became hopeful once again when I heard I was selected to receive the $50 cash. I paid back my debt and purchased one sack of rice along with some vegetable seeds. I could replant some corn which is now nearly ready to harvest.  I am also selling the green leaves of pumpkin to the villagers. As a result, I am making 2,500 Riels to 5,000 Riels (0.75-1.25$) daily. I use this money to buy food and medicine. I hope to have a stable income from my garden as I continue to grow a greater variety of vegetables”.