Six months ago, Moung Hoeut, 61, lost her husband to an asthma attack. A single mother, Hoeut now shares her home with her daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
The family of five resided in a small house that was built using pieces of wood, zinc sheets and palm leaves. The fragile structure meant that their home often needed to be repaired and was insufficient to protect the family from the elements. The high cost of building materials means that for poor families like Hoeut’s, there is often little choice but to build their homes with cheaper materials that are not durable. This places families in a continuous cycle of investing their hard earned, limited incomes into repairing their homes.
Hoeut had always hoped that her family could someday afford a safe and decent home where they could all sleep comfortably. However, much of her savings went to fund treatment for her husband when he was sick.
“I spent my own money on his treatment – around $1,000, and a loan from neighbours – $1,500 but it did not help. Now I am still in debt to my neighbors,” Hoeut said.
For work, Hoeut farms rice and livestock while her daughter and son-in-law work as wage laborers in Battambang. They earn an unsteady income of about $8 a day, just enough to support their children to go to primary school and to provide for their family’s basic needs such food, rice, medical bills, and clothing.
“Our income is just enough to live day to day,” Hoeut said. “We own a 25m x 25m paddy field which does not produce enough rice to eat for a whole year. We buy rice from the market for at least six months or more each year.”
Like most of their neighbors around the village, the family does not have access to a toilet or safe water. As a result, they have to resort to relieving themselves in the bushes or rice fields. In addition, they use unfiltered ground and rain water as drinking water, which further increases the risk of contamination and disease.
However, with the help of Habitat for Humanity, our supporters and volunteers, Hout now has a safe and decent home to call her own.
“Thanks to Habitat for Humanity for providing my family with a beautiful house and a toilet,” Hoeut said.
Their new home means that they can now build a brighter and healthier future for themselves. Thanks for your support, we can continue to transform the lives of people like Hoeut’s, and build strength, stability and independence for generations to come.
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