Mr. Lek Sarorn, 68 years old who is a member of the WoW Group management committee in Kampong Preah village of Battambang province. Mr. Sarorn shared with HelpAge Cambodia that he was very excited to be elected as a committee member and join the WoW group activities, “I found the WoW model very exciting and this could make older people happy with a lot of exercise activities, building an understanding of health care and improve knowledge on livelihood”, Mr. Sarorn said.
Mr. Sarorn’s OPA was first established in late 2017, driven by the older people in the village and with the technical support of HelpAge Cambodia. In the beginning, Mr. Sarorn’s OPA was unable to run activities for capacity building and was only able to support funeral funding or on the rare occasion, when someone becomes unwell.
With further growth and support from HAC, they were selected to become a WoW group. WoW group represents outstanding OPA’s who have become self-sustainable and self-funding. This was a very exciting movement in the village when this WoW group was selected to be apart of the SANA II project with HAC. Mr. Sarorn says’s “We now have many activities to support and help older people in the village such as exercise, health awareness, and check-ups, a micro-credit program and livelihood”. Because of the support of the SANA II project and HAC, this increased the members of the group and participation in the WoW group’s activities.
The WoW committee aims to share important knowledge and increase the livelihood of older people and practices through meetings and activities, Mr. Sarorn said “I’m very happy to join the WoW group activities and support the poor and older people facing hardship in the village”.
Mr. Sarorn mentioned that in the past, he never cared much about his health, exercise, and rarely visited health centers. After he received training on the Intergeneration Self Help Club (ISHC model) and healthcare, he began to adopt new routines such as regular exercise and monitoring his health. Mr. Sarorn said, “I am having fun and enjoy the exercise now. Our WoW group is starting to do exercise weekly and I do exercise daily at home”. I felt much better upon trying regular exercise and within these 3 months, even my eating and sleeping were better. My blood pressure is more stable than before”. Exercise and social inclusion for older people and communities are extremely important for a person’s mental health. Just the smallest activity 2-3 times week, such as a walk can increase a person’s wellbeing.