Stories tagged with Cambodia

Feb 2, 2011 KH Cambodia

By Stephanie Sibal, KF14, Cambodia

In the last few weeks, while hopped up on caffeine from too many cups of instant coffee, when I was approached and asked to create a marketing plan for MAXIMA, the microfinance institution (MFI) hosting my Kiva Fellowship in Cambodia, I overeagerly agreed.

Prior to my fellowship, I spent some time working in public relations, so the task of creating a marketing plan wasn’t completely new to me. In order to get started, I needed to figure out how MAXIMA markets to its borrowers in the first place. I knew the first place to start was...

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Feb 2, 2011 KH Cambodia

By Stephanie Sibal, KF14, Cambodia

My first couple of weeks serving as a Kiva Fellow in Cambodia were in many ways, a true shock to my system. The country’s capital, Phnom Penh, is a dizzy blur of lights, motorbikes, colonial-inspired architecture, and savory street food aromas that take some getting used to. However, nothing snaps a Kiva Fellow out of homesickness faster than a visit (or two) to the field. While working with CREDIT, one of Kiva’s oldest partners in Cambodia, I had the pleasure of leaving the busy city life two visit two borrowers in rural provinces.

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Jan 1, 2011 KH Cambodia
Big smile from a Kiva borrower

Cambodians have some of the biggest smiles I have ever seen. During my visits to Kiva borrowers in August and September of 2010, I was given a glimpse of life in rural Cambodia. Below I present some of the challenges of taking photos in the field and also some of my favorite photographs from the borrower visits.

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Dec 12, 2010 KH Cambodia

Cambodia has a long and rich history in silk production and weaving dating back more than a thousand years. Women across southern Cambodia have looms in their homes, and they practice the art passed down from their mothers and grandmothers. But now the ancient craft is slowly dying as the cost of imported raw silk continues to climb while the price of finished silk textiles drops.

Silk weaving has been part of Cambodia culture for centuries. At Angkor Wat, the ancient temple complex built in the early 12th century, images of women wearing traditional silk garments that are...

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Nov 11, 2010 KH Cambodia

As a Kiva Fellow in Cambodia for the past three months, I have had the opportunity to travel through Cambodia, experiencing the crowds and the charms of the urban areas and the beauty and calmness of the rural villages. Here are some of my favorite pictures of the different roads taken to get to Kiva borrowers.

A moto driver carrying bananas in Phnom Penh

Busy intersection in Phnom Penh

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Sep 9, 2010 KH Cambodia

By Shirley Fong, KF12, Angkor Mikroheranhvatho Kampuchea, Cambodia

It’s one of those places you won’t find unless you go looking for it – the slums of Chak Angre Leo.  Located in the outer khan (district) of Meanchey in Cambodia’s capital city, the slums are a stark contrast from the familiar communities and gated residences in central Phnom Penh.

I accompanied Tida, an AMK credit officer, to assess some of these urban poor settlements in Chak Angre Leo.  As we drove down the main road, we took an unexpected turn into a narrow alleyway. The walls of the entrance were...

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Sep 9, 2010 KH Cambodia

Kiva is based on the principle that an average person can lend through microfinance and help borrowers all over the world. One aspect of my fellowship is to foster the connection between borrowers and lenders, and in the course of my work I have had the opportunity to meet with borrowers and hear their stories.

With the aid of my Kiva Coordinator we traveled by bus to distant branch offices in Cambodia. Then, guided by a local credit officer, we motorcycled on the dirt roads through villages, a spectacular way to see the rural landscape. The verdant and luscious green rice fields...

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Aug 8, 2010 KH Cambodia

By Shirley Fong, KF12, Angkor Mikroheranhvatho Kampuchea, Cambodia

It’s a bird… it’s a plane… no, it’s an AMK credit officer!

Much like a superhero, credit officers are the understated motor that keeps the loan system running.  Their continued daily gruel brings loaned monies to those who need it.  After a day in the field, I am worn down to the fibers of my soul from the long hours of heat exhaustion, heavy rain (during Cambodia’s monsoon season), and navigating a loud, clunky motorcycle on unpaved roads mapless. But I realize I have no reason to complain – credit...

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Aug 8, 2010 KH Cambodia

The standard salutation in Cambodia is Sua s’dai, “Hello,” followed by Nham bay howie nov? or “Have you eaten?” For the rest of the day, if you see someone a second or third time you don’t need to bother with any greeting–other than inquiring about their lunch or dinner.

This isn’t limited to when speaking Khmer, either. When I arrive at work at MAXIMA, my co-workers immediately ask me–in English–if I have had breakfast. Kiva borrowers ask me, via the credit officers, if I’ve eaten yet when I arrive at their...

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Aug 8, 2010 KH Cambodia

By Shirley Fong, KF12, Angkor Mikroheranhvatho Kampuchea, Cambodia

I’ve made it through my first week here in Cambodia, and so far it has been amazing! I still get the occasional, “Why are you doing this?” question from curious friends and family back at home, and my answer to them is “Why not?” My decision to become a Kiva fellow was easy; I wanted to gain hands on experience in microfinance. Yesterday, I went out to the field for the first time to meet the borrowers. I was thoroughly humbled and inspired by the people I met and the stories that they had to tell. I am...

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