NOUN PHONG: Locksmith
Noun Phong, now aged 32, has not had an easy life. Now thanks to CDRA and Veal Thom all that has changed. He can't believe his luck and says that now his life is better than his wildest dreams!
Phong had the misfortune to break his hip when he was ten years old. Of course, this would not be a great medical problem in western countries but, in rural Cambodia in 1984, it was a different story. Noun Phong has been disabled ever since.
He was brought up in the Veal Ring commune near Kompong Som. Due to the civil war, his education was severely interrupted and he only finished grade 5 by the time he left school at 15. Hampered by his disability, and lack of education he was never able to get a good job and suffered from low confidence and self esteem.
He tried to support himself in a variety of ways. Sometimes he collected and sold firewood and sometimes he worked on a truck loading logs. By 1999 he was married with a child and so there were more mouths to feed. In desperation they moved to Veal Umbel where he started making and selling charcoal. This was a fortunate move though, because it was here that he heard about CDRA and Veal Thom.
'I couldn't believe my luck when I was given land in Veal Thom and could build my own house.' He felt that the opportunity offered him far outweighed the initial problems when they moved to Veal Thom. He cleared the land and started to farm it, which his wife continues to do.
His prospects improved still further when WRF/PACE suggested that there was a possibility of job training. He suggested that it might be useful to train as a locksmith and make keys in Treng Traying market as he'd noticed that there wasn't one there. He also felt it was something he could do despite his disability. WRF/PACE provided him with training and the essential tools and equipment.
Now, everyday, he leaves his family in Veal Thom and commutes to Treng Traying market where he offers his skills. In addition to working as a locksmith, he repairs and shines shoes and refills gas lighters. Now, he can earn enough to support his family and is free from financial worries. In a day he can earn from 6000 riel upwards.