It has passed 1 month since I started work with Hattha Kaksekar Limited(HKL) in Cambodia.

I’d like to post how HKL works, how the staffs are etc because I hope many people know more and feel something familiar with the MFI.

Firstly let me describe one day in HKL. The office hour is 7:30 a.m. To 4:30.p.m. It’s 1 hour lunch time from 12:00. I was so surprised that they start to work so early! HKL has about 60 staffs and most of them are under 30 years old except management team.

Their uniform is something unique. They wear white shirts and blue one by rotation. If they wear wrong color shirts, they should pay penalty $1! When I visited the royal palace, a guide said Khmer lady servant at the royal palace used to wear 7 different color of traditional cloths for a week in past day. They still keep traditional habit in public place now. I realized people here is well disciplined.

Most of the staffs come to office by motorcycle. Motorcycle is the most popular transportation here. Arriving the office, firstly they clock in. When they go to lunch, coming back from lunch and leave the office, they record the time as well.10e69c889e697a5matte8a8aae5958f-1261

Although they do extra work, their salary don’t change unfortunately. They normally leave the office around 5:00-6:00 p.m. Some of the staffs study to get their MBA after working hour. HKL staffs are well time-managed and aspiring for their future.


Furthermore, HKL’s staffs are very active and full of young power.

Especially, a kiva coordinator, ChanRy is earnest guy and often works overtime even though only he should do it in his section. He has worked for HKL for 1 year and half and has been in charge of kiva for 8 month. HKL. I made a video interview with him. But I couldn’t update on the web unfortunately. I’d like to try it another time. You can see him in the picture below with a HKL borrower.

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He visit borrowers with Kiva Fellow and translate from Khmer to English, post profiles, communicate with Kiva as window person etc. He is very busy all the time. Therefore HKL now has plan to have another kiva coordinator in some branch next year.


Addition to him, there are many friendly staffs in HKL. They go to lunch together every day and talk openly. 7-8 staffs sit on round table and share dishes. Boss and junior staffs all together. Often joking, asking advise for projects, and giving advise.

We're enjoying lunch time altogether!

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After lunch, they go back to office directly and enjoy chatting, joking and reading newspaper. They love talking and joking. They teach me Khmer and try to learn Japanese. When I learn Khmer number, they always laugh at my poor pronunciation. When they learn Japanese, they always laugh at each other as well. Very small things become very funny here. Around 3-4 p.m. Some young staff often start humming or listen music. They need some break time before a day.

One more story about them, one day afternoon, we heard very big sound suddenly. I wondered what happened there and found a desk of one staff tumbled down due to a heavy desk top computer. But we exactly didn’t know why it happened. So everyone laughed very much. It’s so funny for us the desk suddenly got broken! And then they were joking ‘God says we don’t have to work today’. Any accident become funny story here. People here are really cheerful and jolly. Therefore I enjoy my life here very much even though I don’t understand Khmer very well.

In terms of building, there are few office building in Phnom Penh. Therefore HKL rents a big house and renovate it into office.you can see the picture below.

10e69c889e697a5matte8a8aae5958f-118It means it’s hard to find a room you want to go due to complicated room layout; especially rest room! Female should knock the door and enter into accounting room to go to lady’s rest room due to big rooms with rest room for each in this house. So I feel embarrassed to use rest room every time feeling other staffs’ eyes. In addition, we go pass through a balcony to go to a operational manager’s room. In the beginning, it seemed a little strange for me. But this style is quite normal in Cambodia. There is a kitchen and a dining hall as well. Sometimes a staff makes a Khmer dessert for other staffs. This is the time we have a break for a while and enjoy chatting with sweets. In entrance hall, there is a small mausoleum for wishing success and prosperity. It shows Cambodian culture is affected by Chinese culture very much.interview-0011

A few weeks ago, HKL announced new staff recruiting on a board near the entrance gate. You can see many people checking the conditions of employment in the picture.081015-072 And then HKL has received more than 3,000 applications for 120 positions so far!! Many people still bring application forms and CVs every day. HKL’s achieved to grow rapidly in recent years. It has nine branch offices and 29 sub branch offices now and has plan to set up 2-3 branches in southwest areas in Cambodia next year. HKL is aggressively expanding and strongly eager to become a bank in Cambodia. It is required to increase capital to apply bank license and it will need some years, they estimate. To achieve their goal, HKL is eager to have more lender and to increase kiva loan.

I hope lenders, MFIs and borrowers more deeply understand and communicate each other. So let me keep posting HKL news. On the other hand, I tell lenders information on Kiva to borrowers when I have interview. Borrowers are interested in lender’s job and message. And they says ‘ Thank you so much for every lenders and we wish lenders happiness and success as well!’ ‘The more understandings, the more interests each other. It will bring lenders, MFI, and the borrowers’ growth and happiness in the long term, I believe.

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