Life Stories - Heik Sum’s poultry

Heik Sum, 72, has three daughters, five sons and one granddaughter. None of his children are able to support their father and he is the sole carer of his granddaughter, whose parents migrated to Thailand for work ten years ago. His wife died 15 years ago from tuberculosis.

Heik Sum lives in his daughter’s house and earns around US$20/month from the nearby pagoda. He spends half of this on food and divides the rest between his granddaughter’s schooling and his own medical needs. He has long dreamt of raising his own chickens and ducks but did not have the money or knowledge to set this up himself.

Heik Sum’s local Older People Association knew of his dream and arranged for training on how to start a new business as well as contacting mentor in the community with expertise in raising chickens and ducks. Heik Sum was also provided with 1,200,000 riel (approximately US$300) to start his new business.

“I could not believe at the first time when I heard from Older People Association leader. I was very excited that I could do something and work in my age. I did not want to stay at home all the time, and wanted to make money for myself and my granddaughter. My health condition is getting better after starting to raise chickens and ducks.”

Heik Sum’s mentor, and now friend, lives nearby and has taught him all he knows. Over the last six months Heik Sum has earned almost US$150.

“I check my chickens every day, and they are very healthy. I am saving money to see a doctor and for my granddaughter’s education. My health condition is not really good, but I do my best to raise these chickens and ducks. I feel like they are my children. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.”