One question QSA staff and Management Committee members are often asked is – how do you know the projects work? The answer to that is not only in the reports and statistics supplied by the project partner, though they do give an interesting perspective on what is happening. But the real impact is understood from the project participants themselves, when they tell you their story, which is such a privilege to learn. Here are two from women in Cambodia who have taken part in the program being run by Cambodia HIV/AIDS Education and Care (CHEC), an independent NGO being run by Kolnary, its energetic director. This project has been providing training in skills which will enable the family members to earn an income. Their stories explain the impact this training has had for them all.
In addition to her four sons, Mrs Phat Cheu now has around 40 chickens to raise. The 44 year old from Kandal became aware of her HIV status last year after both she and her husband became ill. She qualified for the CHEC chicken-raising project based on her existing farming skills.
“When I first found out that I was HIV positive I wanted to die. But then people from CHEC came and explained to me that HIV wasn’t a death sentence. ”
In addition to being part of the chicken raising scheme, CHEC’s home-based care team visits her family once a month to offer health and business advice. Now with the knowledge and means to access proper care and livelihood support Mrs Phat Cheu says the CHEC project has greatly improved the quality of her life and that of her family members.
“I just want a healthy and happy life for me and my family and I am very grateful to CHEC that they help us to have these things” she says.
With skinny body and hollow eyes, a sick woman in debt due to the cost of treatment lay on a mat with her two- year-daughter nearby in a small house. This was the situation for Pong Onn 5 years ago. After she has received the service of CHEC Home Based Care, her life seems to be turned around and her living conditions are much better through support such as training in chicken raising and receiving some chickens to set up a farm for income generation from CHEC.
Living in Trapaing Tong village, Prey Veng province, 34 year-old Pong Onn remembered her past with sad face. She got HIV infection from her husband who was a soldier. Her husband died in 2006 and left her with a one year old child. “Luckily, my daughter was not infected by HIV.” said Pong Onn with smiling face.
Holding a bowl of rice to feed the chickens, Pong Onn said that after delivering the baby and the death of her husband, her health became very terrible and she was not able to work. From day to day, her living condition became worse and there was no left money for health treatment.
She sold her land to get money to cure her disease. Therefore, now she does not have any of her own land to live on but lives on her relative’s land. However, money from selling land could not cure her disease. “That was a hardest period ever in my life.” said Pong Onn. Nob Sambath, a member of CHEC’s Home Based Care Team commented that when the team first approached Pong Onn, she was not able to walk and her body was very skinny.
Pong Onn said that her health and living conditions got better after she received support and home visit by CHEC Home Based Care team as well as encouraging her to be local CHEC Home Based Care member. She added that her family also gets support of 30 kg of rice, a litre of vegetable oil, a half kilo of salt from World Food Program through CHEC every month.
Pong Onn said that in order to get extra income she started chicken raising after she attended the technical training course on chicken raising and a small loan to set up her chicken farm. The money that she gets from chicken raising makes her living condition better and her daughter can now go to school like other children.
Kapululangu Aboriginal Women’s Association, in Balgo, West Australia
In their recent report to QSA, there was a great spirit of energy and excitement. In April the Kapululangu Women celebrated Easter by holding a ceremonial Women’s Corroboree at which 11 Women Elders shared stories about their families travelling through their country and meeting the missionaries who came to Balgo over 70 years ago. 17 Middle generation and 10 young women also attended.
The Elders painted up the young girls and shared dance and songs that their ancestors have passed on to them. Photos: Kapululangu Women’s Association.
Famine in many African countries
is cause for great concern, with many agencies providing relief and humanitarian aid as best they can under some very difficult conditions. QSA has also been receiving emails from our partners in Uganda and in Zimbabwe indicating that food prices have risen sharply and supplies are getting short there too. If Friends would like to donate funds to support the efforts of our partners in Uganda and Zimbabwe , we would be happy to pass these funds on. Donations for famine relief in other countries can be sent direct to organisations such as Red Cross and UNHCR.
Living Gifts catalogue
will be available on our website (www.qsa.org.au) by September and from your clerk, or the QSA office, so please do consider using this to support our projects in Australia, Cambodia, India, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Thank you Friends.
QSA is a member of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), and is a signatory to the ACFID Code of Conduct. The purpose of QSA is to express in a practical way the concern of Australian Quakers for the building of a more peaceful, equitable, just and compassionate world. To this end QSA works with communities in need to improve their quality of life with projects which are economically and environmentally appropriate and sustainable.
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