Meet Mrs. Nop Rany, an elected member of the village committee in Kampong Speu province

Meet Mrs. Nop Rany, an elected member of the village committee in Kampong Speu province

Mrs. Nop Rany is a mother of four who lives in O Leu Village, Samraong Torng District, Kampong Speu Province. In addition to being a rice farmer, she is also an elected member of the village committee and is widely recognized by people in her community. She is passionate about her role in the committee because it has provided training opportunities on financial management through the DFAT-funded Australia-Cambodia Cooperation for Equitable and Sustainable Services (ACCESS) Program, in order to enable her to help more people in her community.

Participation in the Program has been a life-changing opportunity for her. Rany became disabled several years ago as a result of a traffic accident in which her legs were injured, limiting her ability to walk. Since then, she has faced discrimination by her family and community. As a result of the accident, initially, she had to rely on her husband to earn a living and financially support the family, which led to her experiencing financial abuse including arguments with her husband around income and expenses, particularly about unnecessary expenses. When her legs improved and she became more mobile, she was able to attend training which supported her to learn about the approaches and forms of communication to overcome some forms of discrimination. She was also able to channel this new knowledge towards mobilising her community to better support persons with disabilities through efforts such as raising awareness on reporting on mental and physical abuse.

Through a six-week CAFE Financial Coaching program, delivered by the ACCESS Partners, Chamroeun Microfinance Plc (CMP) in partnership with Good Return (GR), she has a better understanding of budgeting and expenses and feels empowered to explain to her husband how important it is to use money wisely. Moreover, she also became exposed to and was able to use financial services that could support her and her situation. The coaching program was not only beneficial for her and her family but also for other persons with disabilities. Using the skills that she learned, she encouraged other persons with disabilities in her community to become active members of their community, and raised their awareness on various topics such as financial literacy, gender-based violence, and protection measures for COVID-19. In doing so, she helped change the perceptions of her family and community members regarding persons with disabilities as being economically dependent on others.

“I now feel valued and powerful because I have more confidence in communicating with my husband and others about money management. Further to this, the verbal conflicts have also stopped, and financial abuse is no longer happening within my family”, Mrs. Rany expressed.

Through the ACCESS Program, Good Return has adapted its CAFE Financial Coaching Program curriculum and materials to be accessible for persons with disabilities; and trained coaches on how to engage with people with different types of impairments; recruited coaches from Phnom Penh Centre for Independent Living (PPCIL) and Persons with Disabilities Foundation (PWDF); and engaged with Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) and local leaders to empower persons with disabilities to join the program.

The Australian Government through the ACCESS Program is working with the Royal Government of Cambodia and Implementing Partners. ACCESS has been working with PWDF and DPOs through the Cambodian Disabled People’s Organisation (CDPO) to provide sustainable services to women affected by gender-based violence and persons with disabilities.