Sok Khoen had polio as a baby that left her legs disabled. She walks with the aid of crutches.
“Growing up life was small. I stayed in the house alone with nothing to do as my parents would not let me help them.
But when I was 15 years old ADD International came into my life. Finally, I had hope, I felt supported and realised that I was not alone. I learnt about my rights and understood my abilities. I decided I wanted to live and do things in my life."
ADD gave Sok Khoen a grant of $50 to start a business with.
So she bought a few groceries, and started to sell them in the village. Quickly, she started to get some returns, and reinvested them to buy more stock.
“I set up a grocery shop on my parents land as there is no other shop in this village. I now make money. I am independent. My parents and family value me more as they now realised I can be productive and they shouldn't worry about my future.”
Sok Khoen has been steadily growing her business, expanding from 15 products to over 40! Business is going so well for her, that she and her husband are now saving to buy a house for them and their two children.
“My daily sales have grown so much. I use 80% of profits to buy new stock and 20% I save for my family. I’ve learnt from my mistakes. Initially I bought everything and then realised that some things sell better than others. This is not too much of a problem as most of the snacks I stock keep for a long time. I started to note down what sells well. I looked at what other shops sell. And every time someone from the ADD team comes to visit I ask them what I can do better."
Sok Khoen now has big dreams for the future.
“I want to grow my business 20 times in size. I will use savings to grow my business – the interest rates on loans are too high and taking loan is too risky. I am saving 10,000 Riel a day. I use this money to buy additional stock before major festivals such as the Water Festival and Khmer New Year.”
Let's build movements together.
Millions of disabled people in Africa and Asia are still condemned to a life of poverty and exclusion. Right now, organisations of disability activists are working to fight discrimination and ensure every disabled person gets a fighting chance at living their best life. They urgently need your support.
Meet Disability activists
Hom Eng was born with a disability but she has always been determined to seize every opportunity. Read how she has gone from a self-help group member to a leader in her community, doing all she can to raise up her community.
Kim Doe spent years secluded in her house, ashamed to leave because of her disability. A visit from local activists, brought her out of her home and set on her a path to freedom.
When Sambath was 7, a high fever and poor local health provisions left her paralysed in her right arm and left leg. Her disability left her alienated from her friends and it was a deeply painful time.