In Cambodia, a loan of less than $100 can mean the difference between being a successful entrepreneur or staying poor. In villages and cities, Cambodians have skills—like baking or repairing tires—they can use to build a home-based business. All they need is a little capital to turn those ideas into reality.
In 1995, Catholic Relief Services began to make that possible. It started the microfinance project "Thaneakea Phum Cambodia" (TPC), which means "Village Bank Cambodia." TPC gives small loans to motivated, hard-working people who want to support their families. Bakers can buy a stock of ingredients; repairmen can buy inventory like tires. With a solid foundation for their small businesses, Cambodians are no longer scraping by. They can feed their families and send their children to school.
TPC is one of CRS microfinance's greatest success stories. In fact, it is now an independent and self-sustaining institution, owned and managed by a socially responsible microfinance investment fund. Under CRS' guidance, TPC has helped hundreds of thousands of Cambodians grow and develop sustainable business. TPC is now poised, under its new ownership structure, to greatly expand those services to hundreds of thousands more rural, poor Cambodians. CRS continues its microfinance work with a goal of achieving many more success stories such as this. Watch this video to see an example of how CRS' work in Cambodia, through TPC, has changed the lives of three beneficiaries.