From where I stand: “I can share, I can speak, and I can teach.”

Kongkea*, 34, is a mother and domestic violence survivor from the Angkor Thom district in northwestern Cambodia. She fled to a shelter run by UN Women’s local partner, the Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center (CWCC), and is now taking part in a UN Women-supported trafficking prevention programme.

Date: Thursday, April 4, 2019

Kongkea, pictured feeding her piglets, hopes to soon expand her pig-rearing business. Photo: UN Women/Stefanie Simcox
Kongkea, pictured feeding her piglets, hopes to soon expand her pig-rearing business. Photo: UN Women/Stefanie Simcox

I used to have a rice field, but then I borrowed money and put my land as collateral to build a house. My husband did not help, so I had to find a way to pay the debt on my own. In the past, he was very violent, and I could not say anything.

Even though I did not want to, I was considering leaving my daughter behind with my parents to migrate to Thailand to find work and pay my debts. Instead, I heard about a programme through CWCC.

I attended sessions they organized on topics like safe migration, trafficking, and my rights under Cambodian law. CWCC also asked me if I was interested in an income generating activity like raising pigs, and I said ‘sure’. In the past, I raised a few pigs and sold them to pay my debts. I didn’t think they were serious about giving me the pigs, but I received four pigs and I was very excited.

Currently, the pigs weigh around 50 kilos each, and I will sell them for $3.5 per kilo. Now, I am even able to buy 4 piglets and build a new pig feeding place to continue my business. My future plan is to expand my pig raising business to raise chickens and ducks.

The organization came just in time and gave me the capital to start something to earn my own income. I’m very much thankful for this opportunity and do not need to leave anymore. I learned about the law, so now I am not afraid. I can share, I can speak, and I can teach. I have gone through a difficult experience, and I don’t want others to be in a difficult situation like me.”

SDG 1: No poverty SDG 5: Gender equality

Kongkea is a domestic violence survivor from Cambodia who received legal advice, safe migration training, as well as a grant to start her own pig-rearing business through a Japanese-funded programme, run by UN Women and UNODC, and implemented through the Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center (CWCC). Her story highlights efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 1 on ending poverty, which seeks to ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, including microfinance; SDG 5 on gender equality and women’s empowerment, which has a target on ending all forms of violence against women, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation, as well as SDG 16 on peace and justice, which focuses on ending abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence.

*Name changed to protect survivor’s identity