Thursday, March 3, 2011

Help for Landmine Survivors, Round Square Organization Sponsors a Future School-Building Project, Night of A 1000 Chopsticks & more!

 I'd like to begin this latest blog posting with a special announcement about a special school-building project in rural Cambodia:

Round Square Organization, a world-wide association of more than 80 schools on five continents, will be briging a team of students to Cambodia this December to build a one-room school in rural Takeo province in Cambodia. The project will be conducted through A Mine Free World Foundation in Canada and will result in a second Banyan Learning Tree School built in Cambodia. Banyan Learning Tree is a registered Cambodian organization dedicated to providing free education and support for the impoverished children and people of rural Cambodia.

A team of up to 20 Round Square students from countries around the world will arrive the first week of December and with the help of local builders, construct a one-room, cement free-education school in the village of Trapeang Thum in Takeo Province. They will also get involved in sponsoring and giving out some bicycles to rural area students as well as a many other activities that will allow them to interact with Cambodia's friendly people and experience its unique culture.

An announcement of a special evening in support of A Mine Free World Foundation and its projects to help landmine survivors living in the rural areas of Cambodia:

Night of 1000 Chopsticks

Hosted by the Rotary Club of Etobicoke

Location: Mandarin Restaurant, The Queensway in Etobicoke.

Date / Time: 6:00 PM, Wednesday April 27

Visit the Rotary Club of Etobicoke website for more information.
Cost: $60 with a $35 tax receipt issued. Maximum capacity is 70 people, so register early!

I’ve just returned for another ten days traveling through the villages of Koas Krala district in Battambang province. The Canadian Landmine Foundation and the Rotary Club of Etobicoke have sponsored a total of 31 businesses and vocational courses for landmine-affected families scattered throughout this district. Days are spent visiting these families and seeing how these self-sustainable businesses are slowly improving the quality of their lives.

I am based in Battambang and to get to the villages involves a 50km moto ride there and back on the dry dusty roads of the region. My moto driver is Sopheany from the Cambodian Red Cross and she is a superb driver as most Cambodians are. We’re accompanied by Sida and Deun (also from the Red Cross) on another moto. By the end of our day, we are all covered in red dust , thirsty and tired but always with a heartwarming sense of accomplishment for the help we have been able to provide to a few of the poor in the area.

There have been so many success stories, but here are a few of the highlights:

Thanks to recent A Mine Free World Foundation (AMFWF) donor Morn Mon in United States, landmine survivors Plet Hing and Koun Khan each now have chicken-rearing businesses at their homes. Hing is also busy building a chicken coop which is also supplied with this donation. Khan already has a chicken coop, so will use his capital to buy a pig and  few ducks. $125 can provide a family with up to 13 chickens, baskets, cages and capital to build their own chicken coop. To sponsor a chicken-rearing or another self-sustainable business for a landmine-affected family, please contact us at:

Khan (with Sopheany)receives 8 chickens and
money to buy a pig and ducks

Hing receives her 2 baskets containing
13 chickens

Banyan Learning Tree School on the outskirts of Phnom Penh now has a collection of close to 100 books and a new wood bookcase – their first Library thanks to donor Robena Kirton of Gravenhurst Ontario. This new library was celebrated along with a distribution of 25 Rotary Wheels for Learning Bicycles on February 22nd. The school had its first international visitors that day: Patti Lee, Barbara Seagram and their Bridge Group from Toronto. We were all delighted with the ‘Reading Frenzy’ that occurred that first time the children saw and read these books.

You can watch a video of the children using the new library at:

Landmine survivor Heang Saret received support for his TV/Radio repair business from the Rotary Club of Etobicoke. When I visited his small roadside home/repairshop he was busy repairing a TV for a customer- business is good and he makes enough to provide food for the family. His family of five lives in the back portion of the hut and he conducts his repairs in the front. His straw roof and walls were riddled with gaping holes offering absolutely no protection against the elements for his family or business. Sopheany and I researched some costs for new beams, a metal roof and new grass panels for his house.

Thanks to Wendy Inatey from Australia, Saret’s family now has a new home. Sopheany and I purchased all the materials and Saret and his eldest son rebuilt their home. The project took them 11 days, and Saret and his son received the satisfaction of doing the work themselves. This rebuild cost US$130.

Saret's New Home with Metal Roof - $130

Landmine survivor Meum Haeng with a wife and five children live in a small hut that only has 2 walls. His wife received a small business from the Rotary Club of Etobicoke where she sells vegetables from her bicycle with an attached large basket. Haeng and his wife are desperately looking for a sponsor to supply the building materials to give them a metal roof and four new walls. US$180 can give them all the supplies they need and they’ll do all the work themselves.

Meum Haeng and Son


AMFWF Board Member Pauline Johns and I will soon be heading back into the rural villages of Koas Krala district. We'd love to provide businesses and homes for more landmine-affected families. Landmine casualties are on the rise in Cambodia. I've seen the Cambodian Mine Action Authority CMAC) hard at work in the rural villages in this area, but it will take years and years to remove the estimated five million landmines that plague these rural areas in Cambodia. It does not take much to make a big difference in the life of a rural person.

We have friends Robin and Clair arriving from Australia tomorrow - their first time to Cambodia!  Pauline and I have lots to show them. In a few days the four of us will be heading to Takeo province to vist the 11 rural women participating in the 'Embracelets' program and to see all the beautiful bracelets, necklaces and keychains they've been busy making.  See: for more about that exciting project.

More soon in a few days...thanks to everyone for their generous support.

Phnom Penh

No comments: