Forty-nine year old Let Penh lives with her husband in Trapang Thom village, some 20km from Siem Reap town in northwestern Cambodia. Prior to joining the Outgrower project, Let and her husband worked at the local dumpsite collecting plastic, cans, metal and other items they could sell for recycling. Between them, they were able to earn about A$1,160 per year performing this dangerous, back-breaking work. On such a low income, the couple lived very much hand-to-mouth and had no funds to cover unforeseen expenses such as medical costs in case of illness or injury. 

Let was introduced to the Outgrower project when Dana Asia’s project team visited the dumpsite to speak to the workers about the opportunities for training at the organisation’s KJC Farm. She was immediately interested in joining the scheme to have the opportunity to learn new skills and gain a second income stream to alleviate some of the financial pressure on her family.

Construction of an Outgrower shed commenced on Let’s land in September 2020 and she began the comprehensive training program at KJC Farm. Let passed the training with flying colours and was given her first batch of 250 chickens at the end of November 2020. With close monitoring and support from the Outgrower team, Let achieved excellent results with her first batch of chicks. Her attentiveness to biosecurity and careful flock monitoring ensured only eight chickens died before they reached maturity, meaning a good number were available for sale to the local market. At the end of the initial 80-day cycle, Let was delighted to achieve a net income of US$350. The extra income she earns by being a part of the Outgrower project goes towards essential healthcare for herself and her husband. 

Let is a shining example of how the model can really work and truly makes a long-term, sustainable difference in people’s lives. The team at Dana Asia hopes that in the future she will become a mentor for other Outgrower farmers to inspire more individuals to join the project and help upscale its extraordinary impact.