Success Stories

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Phal An, Rice wine maker

Mrs. An married in 1979 and has three children; two sons and one daughter. Both of her sons live with her and her daughter has married and has her own family. Mrs. An is one of the rice wine makers in the village while her husband, Sek Saroeurn, is a motor taxi driver. She is in her late 50's but still strong enough to work. They both were unable to finish the primary school, but they try to earn money to support the two sons so they may attend school. Their house is about 11 kilometers from Phnom Penh. She is borrowing a loan from MAXIMA which funding from 7 lenders through KIVA ( and this is the third loan cycle in the amount of $700 to buy more rice and rice husk to make rice wine. Mrs. An successful story was drawn attention to Daily Resources of Entrepreneurs based in New York to posting her story in the news : Thanks to a microloan from half a world away, a Cambodian rice winemaker named Phal An is ready to expand her growing business.more: (

Pov Sao

Pov lives in the Kean Svay district of Kandal Province, a rural area approximately fifteen kilometers from Cambodia's capital of Phnom Penh. She is married with two children. For years Pov has worked selling jasmine and bananas to her neighbors in the nearby market of Chba Ampov. She purchases these crops, the former which is an important traditional flower used in Buddhist ceremonies and the latter which is a popular fruit in Cambodian diet, from surrounding farmers. Her husband raises pigs and cows, also which he sells to the couple's neighbors.

Pov and her husband Meng Leang wished to expand upon their small businesses into a more lucrative industry. As they live along a somewhat busy road, they decided that their location was an optimal spot for a motorbike cleaning station. Motorbikes are the most common form of transportation for most Cambodians and businesses which tend to the repair or maintenance of the "motors," as they are called locally, makes up quite an important industry.

With a loan from MAXIMA, Pov and Meng were able to have the capital to purchase the materials required to start their motor cleaning service. Several months after they first opened, they are happy to share that business is doing very well and they earn approximately 40,000 Riels ($10 USD) a day for their work. This may not seem like much, but for a family which was formerly earning only half that amount, the profits have been tremendously helpful for their family.

With their additional income, Pov and Meng have been able to continue to support their other two businesses of selling jasmine and bananas as well as raising pigs. They say they can comfortably pay for daily expenses for their family, which is especially crucial in light of recent food price increases. They are also able to continue sending their children to school, which is exciting because Pov and her husband highly value education and hope their children will be able to someday attend college. Pov says she hopes her children will be able to obtain better jobs and enjoy a better life than she has. With hard work, it looks like her plans may work out well.

Hoe Man

Hoe took out her first loan with MAXIMA in December 2007. She had never been able to access financial services of any kind before and was very scared to borrow money from a financial institution. For years Hoe had purchased used clothes from her neighbors and resold them from her home, a very small business which brought in limited income for her family. She managed to bring in only 10,000 Cambodian Riel (approximately $2.50 USD) each day. Her children were never able to go to school, as the family could not afford school fees or the opportunity costs associated with their children not working to support the family.

Hoe decided she wanted to supplement her modest income with an additional business. She applied for a loan with MAXIMA to purchase a fishing net and boat so she and her children could catch fish to sell to their neighbors. Several months later, Hoe's fishing business was bringing in 20,000-30,000 Riel (around $5.00-7.50 USD) each day. When coupled with the clothing business Hoe continued to run, this substantially increased Hoe's income and subsequently improved the family's standard of living.

Unfortunately, none of Hoe's children were able to complete their educations and do not expect to return to school in the future. However, because of her hard work and entrepreneurialism, Hoe believes that she will be able to successfully establish her fishing work so her children can continue this line of work in the future and enjoy the security of running such a successful business. Her loan from MAXIMA thus not only positively impacted her life, but has provided a profitable and sustainable opportunity for her children's as well.

Sokunthea Saum

Sokunthea lives in the rural district of Pon-Nheu Leu, approximately twenty kilometers from Phnom Penh, with her husband and two young sons. Sokunthea is a schoolteacher and her husband Nheb Sao works as a motorbike taxi driver. Motorbikes are the most common form of transportation among most Cambodians and motorbike taxi drivers attach large carts to the back of their bikes so they can work to transport large groups of people between places.
Sokunthea and Nheb's respective salaries are modest, but provided the family with enough income to afford necessary expenses. Suddenly though, Nheb's motorbike broke down and the family had to forgo his daily salary of 40,000 Riel (approximately $10 USD). Unable to live solely on Sokunthea's salary alone, but unable to afford to fix the motorbike themselves, Sokunthea knew the couple had to do something.

In most situations as these many would be forced to turn to private moneylenders to finance such expenses. However, these banks and lenders often charge exorbitant interest rates, making the loan unaffordable for and inaccessible to most people. Then, the couple heard about MAXIMA, whose low interest rate and unique client-oriented service philosophy makes it easy for poor, rural families to access financial services. Sokunthea and her husband applied for and received a loan of $1000 to purchase a new motorbike and restore Nheb's business as usual.

The couple's investment was successful. Nheb was able to resume his motor taxi service and provide the family with much-needed income to cover daily expenses and other necessary costs. They have since been able to pay off their loan on time as scheduled, with no difficulties. Sokunthea explains that they both plan to continue in their respective jobs, working hard so that they can send their sons to school and eventually to pursue university educations. Both want to follow in their mother's footsteps and become teachers.