How community-centric healthcare transformed Sothea’s journey with HIV

February 2024


After Village Hive social workers in Ou Char came across the story of a woman grappling with the harsh reality of an HIV diagnosis, we encountered Sothea. Her experience stands as evidence of the profound impact of community-centric healthcare.

Sothea felt frightened when confronting the impact of her diagnosis while in hospital. Her family’s financial situation intensified her struggles, and she felt compelled to run away from the hospital to provide for her mother and young son. “The doctor asked why I was leaving if I was still so sick,” she recounted. “He removed my IV drip as I told him I needed to go and earn money. I’d return to the hospital once I’d made enough money. It kept going like that for so long.”

Sothea’s intervention unfolded with a strategy that included emergency health care and income generation activities. Sothea was connected to free services at her local health clinic in Ou Char Commune, where she received proper treatment and medication for her HIV diagnosis. Previously unable to afford the necessary medication, her health had been declining. But she soon experienced a marked improvement from accessing the public system.

“This is why our Village Hive model strengthens and improves public health clinics,” social worker Malika said. “It’s so important that vulnerable people like Sothea can access free quality health care from within their own communities. Access to healthcare changes everything.”

Sothea also received a monthly support payment of US$50 for eight months, offering a lifeline during a critical period. Beyond financial support, she was assisted in launching a mushroom farm equipped with 300 grow bags and all necessary farming equipment. This allowed her to transition from earning $5 – $7 a day to generating over $20 a day.

After establishing her own business, Sothea implemented a savings plan,,. Soon, she no longer required any welfare support payments as she cared for her mother and son independently. The success story of Sothea, facilitated by the Village Hive, demonstrates how strengthened healthcare systems, combined with targeted economic empowerment, can uplift individuals from the depths of hardship to a secure and stable future.