A huge thank you to everyone who's contributed to and followed Phirun's remarkable recovery. Six weeks ago Phirun (our field officer) sustained a spinal neck injury after a motorbike accident and was completely paralysed. Since then, he's slowly regained movement in his arms and legs and we've been so impressed by his determination and will to recover. He's now able to walk with only minor residual weakness and he's just started riding his bike again! So we're hoping it won't be too long before he's back on board.
Thanks to the amazing generosity of our supporters his medical costs were covered, meaning his family did not have the added burden of heavy debt to worry about with the initial stress and uncertainty of his condition.
We founded Catalyst Microfranchising after living in South East Asia and seeing first-hand the daily struggle the ultra poor face in meeting their basic needs.
Although Cambodia is a fast-developing, dynamic country, 57% of Cambodians still live on less than US$2.00 per day, and 90% of Cambodia's poor live in rural areas which lack even the most basic of infrastructure, a legacy of three decades of civil war and unrest.
After running a small-scale microloan programme in 2009, we found that partipants struggled to pay back even small microloans. So we abandoned our assumptions about what the ultra poor need, and conducted interviews with people who earn less than $2.00 per day, to find out their perspectives and their actual needs.
We then developed a locally-led programme which focuses on the needs and wants of the end-user, the microentrepreneur. Fundamentally the ultra poor need profitable business ideas, skills training and help accessing markets to be successful.
Our ultimate goal is to strengthen rural communities by creating opportunities for the ultra poor to move up the economic ladder, above the poverty line. Gerard & Hana Wakefield