Sari is 44 years old and comes from Cambodia. He went to Thailand in search of work when he was teenager. He didn't get higher education, just finishing primary school. He worked in Thailand for more than 10 years. While in Thailand, he kept moving from place to place as a construction site worker and day labourer. During his time there he faced many challenges: sometimes he was arrested and put in jail because he didn't have the correct paperwork. Every time the police came to check his work place, he had to run away which meant he went unpaid by his employer. In spite of these difficulties, he still had a chance to send a little bit of money home to support his family in Cambodia.
When COVID hit Sari repatriated back to Cambodia in May 2019 because his work place was shut down. As a lower education guy, he didn't have any idea of how to get an income. He just helped his wife sell food as a local vendor. One day he met Leng who ran a mushroom production program in partnership with World Relief Australia (WRA). Leng introduced him to the program and Sari attended training for several months, then deciding to start producing mushrooms at home. In the beginning he got 100 packages as a free trial. The mushroom raising trial went very well and Sari collected the yield each day to sell in the local market, thus generating income. Sari began buying more mushrooms and now has around 1,000 packages in production! He can earn approximately US$5 per day from selling mushrooms and he plans to expand further up to 10,000 packages seeing as there is still high demand for them in the market place.
Before, Sari struggled financially to support his family and pay the fees necessary for his children to go to school. Now, through the program, he has the opportunity to earn a good income from growing mushrooms to buy nutritious food and school supplies for his kids. He will also soon head up a seed production program that is supported by WRA. He hopes that through this new program he can produce plenty of seeds to share with others who want to plant.