Climate change has increasingly become a big challenge for our community.

Tes Khou

Tes Khou’s story

“Climate change has increasingly become a big challenge for our community”, said Tes Khou, a 31 years old woman farmer, mother of two, from Chomkachek village in the Battambang province. Hers, however, is a migration success story.

In 2013, she and her husband heard a radio broadcast advertising jobs for a company in Thailand working in the electronic industry. However, thereafter various steps towards their departure, they realized that what they were getting themselves into was irregular and they backed out of the deal with the Thai company. The two later found out that the rest of the people that began the process together with them had been deceived and when they arrived in Thailand they had no place to stay, no food and no job. Tes and her husband backed out just on time, unfortunately though, when dealing with the Thai company, some of their documents were taken from them, such as their original birth certificate, and never given back.

A year later, in 2014, Tes and her husband acquired knowledge on safe migration and on the risks of exploitation thanks to WeWorld-GVC’s work in their community and tried to go to Thailand again, regularly this time. They paid the company 500 USD, which included getting the right documentation and a health check-up, they arrived to Thailand and managed to stay there for two years. They left behind their children, who stayed with Tes’ parents.

Now, three years after, they are back in Cambodia. Tes and her husband have reunited with their children and with the earnings from the company in Thailand they managed to buy their own farm where they produce durian and pepper. Luckily, in these past two years they have produced a very good yield that allowed them to stay in Cambodia with their children who are now 15 and 13 years old. However, looking after their farm, they realized that climate change is the newer challenge to overcome and it poses a big problem to the survival of crops (and of people). In fact, just in the past weeks they have had both floods and droughts.

She worries this could become a bigger issue in the future. They are trying to control the issue by pumping water with electricity, even though this process is difficult and costly. In addition, to do so, water is crucial. Wells are useful as they give an easy access to water but to dig one is very expensive. Sadly, she cannot rely on land water for much longer, there is a need to act on this as soon as possible.

Today, to mark the International Day of Rural Women, which this year focuses on the vital role that rural women play in climate action and in building resilience, Tes’ story should serve as a reminder to act on climate change to improve the lives of those in the rural areas and prevent them from migrating irregularly and ending up in dangerous situations. Tes concluded her interview by saying that WeWorld-GVC should continue working on informing people, especially in rural areas, about the dangers of human trafficking and labour exploitation and giving them the correct information as she can see that its work has really made a difference since she noticed a decrease in people being exploited and abused.

Read more on migration and climate change here