|How the community project works
The Shinta Mani community project follows strict guidelines to ensure that donations are used for the people in real need, and to ensure that help is sustainable. A typical process for a village that didn't receive donations yet is the following:
- The poorest families in a village are identified based on personal visits. Many of the families have several kids, only one parent, and no or very low (<20$/month) income. For each family, a record file is created, to monitor progress.
- The family is given the initial donation: a water well is built. A locally developped borehole technique is used, with locally available material. The well is easy to maintain, and constructed to prevent mosquito breeding (malaria!) and spoiling during the rainy season.
- Together with the well, the family is taught how to use the water for their personal use, but also how to plan and build a vegetable garden.
- Once the garden is built by the family, they receive seeds of local vegetables (morning glory, mustard, cabbage, tomatoes...), and start to grow vegetables.
- The same process is followed with further donations: the family needs to achieve a predefined step, in order to receive the next donation, like bicycles, breeding piglets, school uniforms etc.
- The families must commit that they do not sell the items they received as a donation, e.g. they may not slaughter or sell the breeding pigs ("live piggy banks") they received, but only the piglets they reared.
- The overall progress of each family, and the project, is closely monitored by the Shinta Mani Community Activity Coordinators, Chitra and Sour Vong.
- The project usually doesn't work with village politicians, to ensure political independence.
The project started in Brey in 2005, and supports approx. 2000 people (as of December '06). The most notable success, except for generally better well-being of the families, is the story of one family who started to grow sugar cane, made some money by selling it, and re-invested it into a small roadside stall selling sweet sticky rice to locals and tourists on their way to Banteay Srey. Before the start of the project, they hadn't used money...
Of our donations, 4 wells went to families in the Khnar village who hadn't received donations before. The difference between Khnar and Brey was impressive - we hope the Khnar families will soon be where the Brey families are, after a year in the project.
Last update: 00:47 28/01 2007