At a 2-day workshop on “sharing and reflection of reintegration mechanism” facilitated by Reintegration Program management, held on 18-19 March 2013 at Phnom Penh Tomdy Center, where a number of reintegrated women from some provinces around the country and more than 50 center residents were invited to participate. During the course of the event, I found that Boramy (alias), one of the reintegrated women from Koh Kong province was very active and clever, especially in the group discussion as well as the presentation. In order to know more about Borany, her business situation and so on, I tried to meet her for an interview.
She was an ex-resident of Tomdy Rehabilitation and Vocational Skills Training Center, trained in hairdressing, and left the center late 2011 to open a beauty salon in Koh Kong provincial town, located in the southwestern region of Cambodia, around 270 km from Phnom Penh city, along Highway 4 and 48.
Sitting on a bench, under the shade of a mango tree, she talked to me in a very happy mood, along with some questions. Here below is what she told me:
“I am very happy with the workshop which taught me a lot. I shared my experience, strengths and weaknesses to the meeting, in particular I am interested in saving scheme topic. In the course of the past, I have never thought about saving, because with my daily gain, I have thought about buying some more stuff to furnish my shop. This year, I will consider about saving by opening an account to a bank. ”
Asked related to her own family, she said:
“ Presently even if I have run my business salon, but I still need support and encouragement from my parents, that is why I live with them. My father is a policeman and my mother a housewife. My brothers and sisters go to school. As I learn the family’s living condition is still below the average, I am obliged to financially support my parents every month. It is also my luck to have many good clients since the first start of my business, and I am so happy.”
Asked her to remind what was going on during and post reintegration:
“ I was reintegrated to my family and home town since late 2011. AFESIP reintegration staff took me in a pick-up truck, full of hairdressing kits at the back. It is a long way from Phnom Penh to Koh Kong Province. My parents helped build the shop and AFESIP staff with the decoration of the salon right after the uploading of the business kits to my home.
Q-When you first opened your salon, were there any clients ?
A-Of course, there were. And I was so surprising and so happy that before I have never run a business like that, now I consider myself half success in my career. I can make an average 50,000Riels or$10.25 a day and sometimes I can make$25.00 as well.
The agenda of the workshop included a topic on “Sharing Experience”, that is to let the reintegrated women participants to speak to the participants about their strength and weaknesses.
This is what she told the meeting about: “ Now I become the boss of my own business, as before I was hopeless of my life. I am very proud. I have learnt new lessons from the society where I live in. I can manage my daily work and do it independently. In particular I can take full responsibility of my destiny.”
She further emphasized:
“Most importantly, I have the possibility to generate my own income. I can support some money to my parents and brothers and sisters.
Q-Have you so far saved some money ?
A-I cannot save, because I need to buy more stuff for my salon. Perhaps this year, after the workshop lesson on saving, I have the idea to start saving and will open an account.
My clients have confidence in me and also I have good communication with them. However, all these I must be obliged to express my gratitude and special thanks to AFESIP Cambodia staff and first of all, to Bang Somaly for their effort to make alive and her love to us all. ”
Q-Do you plan to recruit some workers ?
A-Yes, but not now.
I asked her what her future plan is, she said her dreams of having expanded her business in order to get extra income such as selling cane juice and DVDs and also to enlarge her salon size. In the meantime, she requested AFESIP to provide her some loan, so that she can be able to do so.