“Things have changed a lot in the last 10 years,” says Dam, a farmer and member of the women’s union in Ha Vi, Bac Kan.
“Back then, we used to have a shortage of food for at least three to four months annually, in between crops. We did not have enough water to farm and husbandry used to face a lot of difficulties due to diseases. It was hard to raise the children and take care of them properly.”
Children enjoy the care of their grandparents while their parents are working far away from home
With four three-year livelihoods projects now complete in six communes in Bach Thong, ChildFund has helped many rural families to improve their farming practices, and generate higher incomes.
“We were among the first to implement farming projects supported by ChildFund. People in the village worked on the canal construction. That means water is available to farm rice twice a year instead of one.
Also, the credit and savings fund established by ChildFund helps us with the cost of buying pigs and chickens. We were trained on new husbandry techniques and now know how to keep our poultry free of diseases. These combined approaches have really helped us to improve our income,” continues Dam.
Right now, Dam is on her fourth round of loans. She has used these to expand her litter of piglets. Besides the rice farming, her family plant maize and vegetables to feed the pigs and earns some extra income from selling vegetables. Her knowledge of farming practices has also been brought up-to-date.
The forth loan helps Dam expanding her pig breeding
“In 2008, we participated in a sanitation education workshop organised by ChildFund and discovered that we should collect the pig waste and, after composting it, use it as fertiliser for our farming activities. This information is useful, cost-saving and means we keep our living environment clean and healthy,” explains Dam.
Composting pig waste helps improve the living environment and farming utility
The changes have also been very beneficial for children, says Dam: “Children do not have to breathe in the polluted air as before. Their parents can be assured that they will grow up healthy.”
“In fact, they do not have to spend as much time and money on their babies like I did because they are growing up healthier. My son and daughter-in-law can leave their baby with me to work on non-farming jobs far from home to earn their living.”
Food shortages are now a thing of the past. Instead, improved access to proper sanitation facilities, increased knowledge on child health and development, means people like Dam are building a better life for their families and their communities and feel positive about the future.
Food shortage is indeed a thing in the past
Dam says: “All the members of the village credit group help each other when needed. Not only by sharing our farming experience, but sometimes financially. We work in groups and every member of a group must work and pay the loans in time so that we can extend the support to other families.
“We are thankful to all the support that ChildFund gave us and will put all our efforts into running the livelihood farming activities introduced by ChildFund that work really well in our community.”