Monday, November 8, 2010

‘Project Battambang’ Plans Underway Here in Cambodia

Greetings to all from Phnom Penh! It certainly is good to be back here and involved in project plans that will be of benefit to landmine-affected families and impoverished children throughout Cambodia.

The monsoon floods have subsided, but there are still days where a raincoat is needed. When living in a hot, humid country of 80 to over 90 degree temperatures; cloudy days with a little rain are a welcome break.

Plans are underway for several projects that will take us into the remote areas of Takeo and Battambang districts.

With generous support from the Canadian Landmine Foundation and the Rotary Club of Etobicoke, 50 landmine-affected families will each be provided with educational, vocational or business support.

A Mine Free World Foundation (AMFWF) board member, Pauline Johns arrived from Australia earlier this week. Along with Un Vanthon and family and assisted by Red Cross worker Sophany in Koas Krala district in Battambang province, plans are well underway for our trip to Battambang on November 19th to provide this vital support for these 50 families.

You can view an album of these 50 landmine survivors and their families at this link:
Photos of 50 Landmine-Affected Families

On this 291km road trip from Phnom Penh, our vanload of volunteers will be accompanied by a truck carrying supplies for 32 businesses, 29 bicycles and school supplies for 14 students. The same local team of volunteers who conduct the AMFWF and Rotary bicycle distributions will conduct the first stage of this project along with 3 volunteers in Koas Krala.

A special volunteer will be also coming along – Dr. Khom Pisal from Siem Reap. She has had years of experience in teaching dental hygiene to rural families throughout Cambodia. She will be volunteering for Project Battambang as well as teaching dental hygiene at at least two scheduled sessions in Koas Krala – one for the 50 landmine-affected families on November 20th and another at a local school location. Thanks to generous funds raised through the efforts of Rotarians Bill Rathbun, Cathy Jordan and members of the Rotary Club of Huntsville, over 2,700 tubes of toothpaste and toothbrushes will be distributed to rural families in Koas Krala and Takeo province districts. For more details, click here:
Dental Hygiene for Cambodian Children

In August of this year, AMFWF board member and local project coordinator, Un Vanthon made a trip to this remote area of Battambang province to identify 50 families in need of assistance. Working with district, commune, village officials and Sophany, Vanthon and a team of three local volunteers visited the homes of these landmine survivors to conduct an initial needs assessment. Care was taken to investigate each family’s distinct needs. Families without any sustainable income were interviewed to assess skills and personal interests to determine which village-level businesses could bring improvements to their lives. Families which already had an operating small business were assessed for business needs that would improve their existing businesses.

Each of these families lived in conditions that you and I cannot imagine. Most rural people live far below the poverty level, but landmine survivors are at the very bottom. Most are treated as outcasts in their villages as there still remains a strong, superstitious belief among rural people that landmine victims have befallen their fate due to bad luck associated with them.

Landmine survivors deal with social, psychological and physical hardships. But for these 50 families, there will be a marked improvement in the quality of their lives through the provision of education and self-sustainability.

32 families will receive supplies and start-up capital to implement a small business, or, supplies and capital to make improvements to their existing business.

Two landmine survivors will receive a year-long motorcycle repair course which will enable them to acquire a job at local shop, or with some help, eventually open their own small enterprise.

The following 20 businesses will be supported through grant funding from the Canadian Landmine Foundation:

9 Chicken Rearing Businesses

1 Barber Business

4 Bicycle Repair Businesses

1 Carpentry Business

5 Small Food Stall Businesses

The following 13 businesses and courses are sponsored by the Rotary Club of Etobicoke:

6 Bicycle Repair Businesses

1 Watch Repair Business

1 Television Repair Business

2 Small Food Stall Businesses

2 Motorcycle Repair Courses

1 Barber Business

The ladies of Daphne’s Drop In at the Women’s Resource Center in Bracebridge are sponsoring a Sewing Business for a landmine survivor.

Costs for these small businesses cost between US$100-150 each, and include capital. For example: each $125 Chicken rearing business will receive 10kg of small chickens, a chicken basket and capital to buy more chickens and build a wooden chicken house on their property. Chickens are free-range in Cambodia, so there is no need to buy feed.

Please consider sponsoring one of the 16 remaining landmine-affected families in a small business that will lift them out of poverty. For more information you can contact me at: . You will receive biographical information on your sponsored family and will receive a photo of them with their new business.

Pauline, Vanthon and I will be revisiting the current 34 recipients in a few weeks after they receive their supplies and support to document the improvements these vital businesses have made in their lives. We’d be so happy to be able to supply more businesses to the remaining families at that time!

Give the Gift of Self-Sustainability to a landmine-affected family this holiday season.

Cheques can be made out to ‘A Mine Free World Foundation’ and please write ‘Small Business Support’ in the memo field.


A Mine Free World Foundation
906 Fung Place,
Kitchener, On, Canada
N2A 4M3

Many Thanks Everyone!

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