Mao Eng is a 36-year-old mother of seven from Anchanh village in rural Cambodia. Her husband
abandoned Eng several years ago while she was one month pregnant. Eng had a hard time taking care
of her children. She used to sell fish, crabs, and cakes in the market located three kilometers Rom her
home. During the dry season she would work for construction companies as a daily worker. She
would leave very early in the morning, perform hard tasks for low wages, and return late in the
evenings. While she was away, her older children would have to look after the younger ones, and so
could not go to school. When she did not have enough money or rice to feed her family, she often had
to go to moneylenders, who would charge 20 percent per month, just to feed her family.
Eng joined the Microcredit Village Association when it came to her village three years ago. She has
borrowed continuously, each time in larger increments (US$30-50). At first she bought piglets that
she fattened and sold. With the profit from her piglets, she developed her small trade activities. Then,
she bought a bicycle so that she could go to the market faster and sell more goods. Eng's yearly
income has increased from US$180 to over US$260.
Eng no longer works for construction companies during the dry season. She can work and look after
her children at the same time. This allows all of her older children to go to school. "Since I started to
borrow money from the microcredit association, the living conditions of my family improved. Now I
manage to save some money from week to week." Eng is more confident in the future of her family.
Thanks to her increased income and savings she no longer worries about bad harvests, diseases, or
accidents. She has money to buy extra rice and can afford small medical expenses.