A 27-year-old widow, Long Vath, sits at the gate to her house in the Cambodian village of O’Thom, with her 4-year-old son and her mother, outlining her life to some strangers. Her visitors include Mariam Sherman, the World Bank Country Director for Cambodia, Myanmar and Lao PDR.
Vath’s mother, Choeun Von, is also a widow. Now aged 57, she moved to O’Thom, in Tipo commune, Kampong Thom province, in 2011 after the World Bank-supported Land Allocation for Social and Economic Development (LASED) project gave her land. This land was a blessing for a woman struggling to raise three children after her husband had been taken by illness.
Vath has lived here with her mother and siblings since then. The family have built a small house and little shop on their 30 x 40-meter residential plot. Outside the house they grow vegetables and raise chickens and fish. Vath received training through the LASED project, and she makes around a million riel ($250) each month, selling her produce locally.
“I really appreciate the help of the project. It helped my mother get this land, and now it helps me, and my son live on the land,” Vath told her visitors. “The skills I’ve learned have helped me do better.”
The family is one of 779 households in Tipo who have received land under LASED since 2011. Choeun was allocated both residential and agricultural land, and on her 2.5 hectares of farmland, she grows rice and cashew nuts. The land is secured by titles, which were distributed in 2017.