Mother of the Month

Chhoun Sophal

Chhoun Sophal heard of our program when we started in November of 2010, and asked to be considered for a loan to improve her existing small business of selling cooked corn on the streets of Phnom Penh from her simple push cart. She was bringing in a profit of about $50 per month, and was hoping to be able to increase that significantly.

MfM manager, Peng Dany, does first interview with Chhoun Sophal & family 

Chhoun Sophal at her push cart, and completing her loan application

In December of 2010 she joined our first group of five mothers and started her training. During the three introductory meetings she became well informed about her responsibilities in repayment of the loan and regular attendance at the weekly meetings.

Sophal (left front) enjoys the fellowship and support in our first loan group 

By January 2011the introductory meetings concluded, and she received her first loan of $100, which was a tremendous thrill since prior to joining the program she had been unable to secure even a fraction of that amount. Her enthusiasm was quite evident as she could now move forward with a plan she had always dreamed of – to offer drinks and sweets to her customers.

With drinks and sweets added to her inventory the new business can begin

The business was an immediate success, with business profits averaging $105 per month in the first three months of operation, and jumping to $131 in the last month of the loan cycle – a huge improvement over the original $50 per month profit she was making before receiving the loan. As the first 6-month loan cycle concluded in July of 2011, she had fully repaid the original loan and immediately applied for a new loan – this time for $150. Other clients in the loan group were equally successful, resulting in tremendous enthusiasm on the part of all participants.

Sophal (center) with enthusiastic mothers in her group (manager in back)

With her second loan, and money she had been able to save, she was able to purchase a used "moto" (the small motorized bikes so prevalent all over Cambodia). This she attached to her cart, and was now able to take it to many places that previously she could not have access to. Having a motorized cart, and heading into a hot season of the year, her drinks & sweets business thrived.

Sophal with MfM manager, Peng Dany, and her cart – now motorized

Her monthly profit for this second loan cycle (July – Dec. 2011) was an average of $133 per month, more than she had ever made with her business. She had come a long way from just a year ago, and frequently expressed her gratitude for how our program steered her in a successful business direction. The second loan of $150 was paid off on time, and she entered the third loan cycle with another increase – a loan this time of $200. The new loan enabled her to purchase a shaved-ice machine, and sugar cane crusher for extracting sugar from the cane, and a new umbrella for the cart, which enabled her to offer still better service to her customers.

Reporting on the improved cart with new umbrella and shaved-ice machine

Having just completed her third loan cycle in June 2012, Sophal has successfully managed three loans over a year and a half, with all of them paid back on time without being delinquent on any payments. She’s been able to improve her street cart sales business significantly, and increase the standard of living for herself and her five children. Chhoun Sophal has now graduated from our program, and runs her business independent of Microloans For Mothers. She’s a prime example of what a small initial loan can do to improve the lives of a mother and her family – forever.

Sophal with a customer and MfM manager, Peng Dany, celebrate her success