In Cambodia there is a popular song called Tov Dondung Kon Key by Khemarak Sereymon. The song is VERY catchy and we hear it EVERYWHERE. The best part of the song is the story. It’s about a guy who has this crush on a girl who he meets at the market. When he goes with his mother to meet the girl’s parents so that he can ask them to marry her, the girl’s family asks for $5000 as a dowry. Unfortunately, even if he sold his rice field and cows he would not have enough money, so he sings about his agony.
Here’s a question for you Kiva lenders, if he asked for a loan would you support him?
I used the song to make a video of our recent visit to Takeo Province:'
This was my first overnight trip and it was amazing. We went into areas that were much more remote than I had ever been. On our second day, we had to walk a kilometer just to reach the Village Bank meeting. It’s also harvest time so we saw many farmers and farm workers harvesting the rice.
The best moment of the trip was when Kieran asked one of the borrowers what they would do if they couldn’t get a loan from AMK. We then asked the same question to the other clients we met. Many of them said they would turn to private lenders who charged 10-20% interest a month (compared to the 3% a month AMK charges). Cambodia has 18 microfinance institutions, but AMK goes into the most remote areas where other MFIs don’t go because of the costs involved to service these borrowers. For many borrowers, if AMK didn’t go out there they would either turn to loan sharks or they would not borrow the money necessary to improve their lives. AMK chooses to serve these clients because of their mission:
“To help large numbers of poor in Cambodia to improve their livelihood options through the sustainable delivery of appropriate and viable microfinance services”
If you think AMK is doing great things you should definetely check out their loans that are currently fundraising on Kiva. Also if you think AMK is awesome as much as Kieran and I do, you should join the AMK Fan Club!/>