In 2017, Mr. Toi started on the path to leadership while still working as an ordinary builder. His village needed its main road upgraded to meet the government’s New Rural Program standards. He committed 40 of his own working days to the project and mobilized the contribution of another 1,000 working days by local residents. Completing the 600 meter-long road increased the standard of living for his community substantially. That earned Mr. Toi the trust of the local people and they elected him to be their village leader.
Mr. Toi anticipated the challenge of working in his village, knowing that he must balance the needs of many different stakeholders. When he heard about YWAM Mercy’s income generation development training, he set his mind to participating in not only training, but also study tours, and household visits so he could learn as much as possible and update his skills and knowledge.
Mr. Toi won the prize in the competition on doing family business at the training
The training made me think a lot about how to do sales and marketing for our local products. I will spend more time now to observe and analyze the market for my family’s business. This kind of training is really practical for me and other farmers in my location.
Currently, his family grows fruit including grapefruits, coconuts, and arecas. These fruits involve a long-term harvest so learning proper cultivation technique is critical. Besides farming and village work, he and his wife also have a small shop in the city selling high-end fruit with a focus on special seasonal fruits for traditional consumers. In YWAM Mercy’s training he learned about branding and customer retention.
Businesses need to focus on quality and developing brand recognition. Traditional customers really bring the stable income for our business.
Every year, she invests in renovating appliances and equipment to suit market trends and the needs of customers. During seven years in business, she has invested 900 million VND (US$39,130) in new equipment! Her family has stayed involved in the work, helping her to take home about 140 million VND (US$6,087) a year in salary.
Currently, her family has 2160 square meters of rice paddy, 2520 square meters of seasonal vegetables such as corn, cabbage, & watercress, which brings her family a turnover of over 200 million a year (US$8696). In addition to pigs, chickens and ducks, which almost every farmer raises, Phuong’s family also raises wild boars, geese, fighting chickens and pigeons. They are animals that are not so popular and have a more special nature than regular pets, so they require more thorough care, more effort, but also bring higher returns. Phuong and her husband are even planning to invest in raising eels – a very popular meat in Vietnam and something no one has raised in their area yet.
With so many jobs for the couple to manage, and almost no time to relax, they are gradually focusing more on farming and handing over the business to their oldest daughter.
Mrs. Phuong shared that, “Farming requires only a small capital investment but provides a good income on our land. My event supplies business requires me to invest a lot of money, and work harder, but the income is equal to farming. So, my husband and I decided we would focus on one job rather than many things as before.”
Phuong’s story is a great motivation for YWAM Mercy to continue our community development focus. She is also an example for other households in poverty. If they learn and work, and are not afraid of difficulties, they can overcome.