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A strong woman emerges

Written by Chuon Sophy, Rabbit School

English translation by Norah Lay

Edited by Makara Phan    

Mrs. Keo Navy is 53 years old and lives in Chambok Hek village, Puok commune, Puok district, Siem Reap province. She is a widow with five children (two sons and three daughters). Among them is a son named Chhoeuy Phatra, a young man with congenital Down Syndrome. Ms. Keo Navy deals with challenges in her daily life having no educational background. She is also a survivor of domestic violence from her ex-husband. She works as a tailor and she earns less than five thousand riel (5,000 riel), or 1.25 dollars per day.  

“Violence destroys family, property, and time, and you miss out on everything.” 

Since 2016, Ms. Keo Navy has had the opportunity to participate in many activities of the Rabbit School Organization, such as special education activities for families of children with disabilities and programs or campaigns that demand the rights of people with disabilities and vulnerable people. She participated in a study visit to Sot Nikum commune, Dam Dek district, and Siem Reap province. The study visit aimed to learn about farming and animal raising in 2022 organized by Rabbit School. At the same year, she participated in workshops, forums, discussions and other campaigns.

In 2023, she joined the campaign “Cycling for Change“ to celebrate International Women’s Day with the Rabbit School Organization through the supported Voice project. The campaign aimed to seek support on social protection policies and initiatives from relevant government agencies, on disability identity card registration, on mobilising and recruiting drop-out students to return to school for both children with and without disabilities, and on promoting the rights of people with disabilities by leaving no one behind. After participating in the activities with Rabbit School, she understood her rights and sought support on safety and security from relevant authorities, including village and commune chiefs as well as from the district level, to operate the legal law which could protect her from her ex-husband.

She continues to participate and is engaged with local authorities to promote and raise awareness among other parents of children with disabilities. Through her commitment, her son was able to register for the disability identity card.  

On May 25, 2023, Ms. Keo Navy began her own small-scale business of raising chickens, supported by the Rabbit School. Beyond her chicken-raising business, she has scaled-up her business by planting more vegetables, lemon grass, lime, papaya and other tropical fruits like oranges. Presently, she earns 100,000 riel, or 25 dollars, on a monthly basis from her farming and raising chickens.  

Her son with down sydrom and her chicken coop at the back  
Her son with down sydrome and her chicken coop at the back  

“Based on her will, experience, hard work and passion on poultry raising, she foresees that it would be smooth and much better in time. She’ll continue and expand her knowledge through self-study and join in non-government organisation workshops and trainings to scale up her chicken-raising business. Finally, she feels that this society has not left her behind” 

Study visit and social protection campaigns for the rights of persons with disabilities  

Sub-national authorities with Rabbit School representatives furing a field visit to support community-based business  

Field visit with Rabbit School


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