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Connexus : Issue 42
Getting back on the financial rails A new CUFA financial literacy program in Cambodia is helping hundreds of resettled families. BY TONGNGY KAING CUFA is providing communities relocated as part of a major Cambodian railways project with much needed fnancial literacy training. The program, known as Reaching an Independent Economic Life (RIEL), got under way in December. The railway project involves rebuilding the 641 km line linking the capital, Phnom Penh, to the main port in southern Sihanoukville, and up to the Thai border. The project, an important one to help improve economic growth, is mainly funded by the Asian Development Bank, the Cambodian government and AusAID, the Australian government overseas aid program. About 4000 families, who were living close to or on top of the railway tracks, were affected and 1,000 of these needed to be relocated in order to make the rebuilding possible. RIEL is one of several programs created to improve their living standards and lives. RIEL's goal is that, with increased fnancial skills, the relocated families will be in a better position to invest in their businesses, manage their fnances, pay debts and make more sound fnancial decisions in the future. CUFA project offcers will provide the communities with training in seven core components: understanding fnancial concepts; family budgeting; sensible borrowing or managing debt repayments; setting and achieving fnancial goals; "I am most impressed with the idea of making money grow," says 31 year old Mouy Chan Khov. The training is very useful and I hope to apply the knowledge. 46 Connexus COMMUNITY