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The Courageous Duo Battling to Educat...
Dubai
By Lola García-Ajofrín
27 Mar 2015

“Neither the government of Cambodia nor its families care about blind children”
 
"No – absolutely not." This is what the Cambodian Minister of Education said to Benoit Duchateau-Arminjon in 1993 when he proposed to open the country’s first school for blind children. "If you want, take the money and invest it in normal schools,” he remembers being told.

“No,” other families said to Phalla Neang, a cambodian teacher, when she drove her small motorcycle from house-to-house, asking if there were blind children there. “Some people shut the door in my face,” she recalls. Now she laughs about it. At the time, blindness was considered a curse in Cambodia. But Benoît had promised a blind child, Wanna, that he would go to school. With that promise he convinced Phalla to join his organization, the Krousar Thmey Foundation.

"It was crazy," he admits. "I looked for her and I told her: I know you can help me but I’m only able to pay you $100." And she agreed. Phalla Neang, one of ten finalists under consideration for the “Nobel” of teaching at the 2015 Global Teacher Prize event held in Dubai, became the first teacher of Braille in the history of her country. Wanna, their first student, is now a professor of music.

FULL ARTICLE AVAILABLE ON REQUEST

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Blood Sugar: life in the Cambodian su...
Cambodia
By Ruom
04 Jul 2014

Human rights organisations have estimated that 12,000 people in Cambodia have been forced off their land to make way for a new surge of sugar production. The European Union’s initiative ‘Everything but Arms’, which allows Cambodian sugar to be sold duty-free on the European market at a minimum price per tonne, has created a “sugar rush” in Cambodia. As a result, crops have been razed. Animals have been shot. Homes have been burned to the ground. Thousands of people have been left destitute. Some have been thrown in jail for daring to protest. Given no option but to accept inadequate compensations, villagers gave up their homes and farmlands.

The EU is, to date, yet to investigate these reports.

In the meantime, families forced off their land, who have lost their only source of income, have little choice but to work for the very companies who have claimed their land, either at factory level, or cutting and bundling sugar canes for rates as low as US$2.50 per day. The dire economic situation means that children also work in the cane fields but still the families earn barely enough money to survive.

On March 2013, a lawsuit was filed in the UK against Tate&Lyle, the multi-national sugar giant, to which the majority of exports from the Koh Kong plantation are being sent. 200 Cambodian farmers are suing the company for violating their rights as, under Cambodian law, the fruits of the land belong to the landowner (or lawful possessor in this case). According to humanitarian organizations Tate&Lyle is knowingly benefiting from the harvest of stolen land, and the rightful owners of the harvest are not receiving their share of sugar sales.
Land ownership in Cambodia is difficult to establish, due to the country’s evolving legal and political structures following the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime, and the country is slowly trying to re-establish land titling through government programs. Though in the past, and still for the time being, small-scale farmers and poor households are often forced to give up their land for little compensation.

Fair development and industrialization is a struggle for this South East Asian nation, where, for the right price, powerful landowners, wealthy businessmen, and foreign investors have their pick of the country’s prime real estate.

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Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen's bo...
Siem Reap Cambodia
By George Nickels
05 Jul 2013

With the Cambodian election campaigns now in full swing ruling party CPP leader prime minister Hun Sen makes a highly guarded visit to Siem Reap to attend various meetings. Hun Sen is the second longest serving leader in Southeast Asia and is one of the longest serving prime ministers in the world, having been in power through various coalitions since 1985. In 1987, Amnesty International accused Hun Sen's government of torture of thousands of political prisoners using "electric shocks, hot irons and near-suffocation with plastic bags. Hun Sen's government has been responsible for the sale of vast amounts of land to foreign investors resulting in the forced eviction of thousands upon thousands of residents from their homes throughout the country.

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Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen's bo...
Siem Reap, Cambodia
By George Nickels
05 Jul 2013

2nd lieutenent Vorn Ratha loads a clip into his chinese made pistol. Siem Reap, Cambodia.

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Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen's bo...
Siem Reap, Cambodia
By George Nickels
05 Jul 2013

Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen's body guards have a joke with each other before starting their next watch. Siem Reap, Cambodia.

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Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen's bo...
Siem Reap, Cambodia
By George Nickels
05 Jul 2013

One of the Prime ministers many body guards stands proudly underneath a large sign commemorating the late king Norodom Sihanouk.

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Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen's bo...
Siem Reap, Cambodia
By George Nickels
05 Jul 2013

In advance of the Cambodian elections on the 28th of July, 2013, prime minister Hun Sen makes a highly guarded visit to Siem Reap to attend meetings. Siem Reap, Cambodia.

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Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen's bo...
Siem Reap, Cambodia
By George Nickels
05 Jul 2013

One of CPP leader and prime minister Of the Kingdom Of Cambodia Hun Sen's body guards takes a well needed sleep in the royal palace gardens, Siem Reap, Cambodia.

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Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen's bo...
Siem Reap, Cambodia
By George Nickels
05 Jul 2013

One of Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen's body guards wears a traditional red bracelet believed to bring good luck after the wearer has been blessed by a buddhist monk. Siam Reap, Cambodia.

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Sickness born out of poverty
kampong cchnang Cambodia
By George Nickels
26 Jan 2013

Leprosy, or Hansen’s disease, is the sickness of the developing world - sickness born out of poverty. Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease which attacks the skin, the peripheral nerves, the mucous air passages and the eyes. The transmission of leprosy is similar to that of tuberculosis. To date, science has not been able to produce a vaccine against leprosy.

The physical handicap caused by the disease stigmatises its victims: it renders the sufferers social outcasts, excluded from their familial and social environment.

Today there are more than a million cases of leprosy identified worldwide, excluding the large number of ex-patients needing specialised mid-term medical and surgical treatment or social assistance because of the handicap caused by the disease.

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Sickness born out of poverty (7 of 8)
Kampong Chhnang Cambodia
By George Nickels
26 Jan 2013

One of the first signs of leprosy are pale patches on the skin. The fingers start to stiffen up and eventually without the proper medication lose the feeling as the nerves slowly die.

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Sickness born out of poverty (6 of 8)
Kampong Chhnang Cambodia
By George Nickels
26 Jan 2013

Me and my family are shunned by our local community, my family now by our food from a market nearly 2 miles away.

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Sickness born out of poverty (5 of 8)
Kampong Chhnang Cambodia
By George Nickels
26 Jan 2013

Leprosy, or Hansen’s disease, is the sickness of the developing world - sickness born out of poverty. Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease which attacks the skin, the peripheral nerves, the mucous air passages and the eyes. The transmission of leprosy is similar to that of tuberculosis. To date, science has not been able to produce a vaccine against leprosy.

The physical handicap caused by the disease stigmatises its victims: it renders the sufferers social outcasts, excluded from their familial and social environment.

Today there are more than a million cases of leprosy identified worldwide, excluding the large number of ex-patients needing specialised mid-term medical and surgical treatment or social assistance because of the handicap caused by the disease.

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Sickness born out of poverty (4 of 8)
Kampong Chhnang Cambodia
By George Nickels
26 Jan 2013

In only seven years I lost all my fingers. If the antibiotics were available to me when i realised that I had contracted leprosy, things may have been different for me now.

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Sickness born out of poverty (3 of 8)
Kampong Chhnang Cambodia
By George Nickels
26 Jan 2013

My son and wife have to help me with everything that I do in daily life , my eyes have now lost there sight, I cant even see to wash my self. My community has shunned me, they are scared that they will catch this terrible disease that is slowly eating me away.

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Sickness born out of poverty (2 of 8)
Kampong Chhnang Cambodia
By George Nickels
26 Jan 2013

I have now lost the feeling in my feet and constantly injure myself.

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Sickness born out of poverty (1 of 8)
Kampong Chhnang Cambodia
By George Nickels
26 Jan 2013

Life is extremely difficult, my son helps me to dress myself, clean my wounds and now that I have completely lost my sight navigate through my house. CIOML provide me with antibiotics which has helped calm the disease spreading but I feel that it is now too late.

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The Cambodia Trust Prosthetics and Or...
Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia
By George Nickels
05 Nov 2012

Nurses, technicians and patients observe Amputee Sok Try as he takes the first few steps in his new prosthetic leg. Mr Sok lost his leg after triggering a land mine in Battambang province in 1996, since then he has had five replacements

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The Cambodia Trust Prosthetics and Or...
Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia
By George Nickels
05 Nov 2012

Amputee Sok Try takes the first few steps in his new prosthetic leg. Mr Sok lost his leg after triggering a land mine in Battambang province in 1996, since then he has had five replacements.

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Cambodia Trust Prosthetics and Orthot...
Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia
By George Nickels
05 Nov 2012

A patient takes his first few steps on his new prosthetic limb. The Cambodia Trust Prosthetics and Orthotics Rehabilitation Clinic helps disabled local get back on their feet, so that they provide for their families and themselves.

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The Cambodia Trust Prosthetics and Or...
Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia
By George Nickels
05 Nov 2012

Nurse Ms Tech Aundoung go's through the first process of sizing and making a prosthetic limb.Mr Soung Sophat triggered a landmine in 1981. Kampong Chhnang province was one of the most heavily mined areas of cambodia. Ms Tech Aundoung is relocating to Myanmar soon to help deal with the growing numbers of victims affected there during the recent conflicts.

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The Cambodia Trust Prosthetics and Or...
Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia
By George Nickels
05 Nov 2012

Nurse Ms Tech Aundoung go's through the first process of sizing and making a prosthetic limb. Mr Soung Sophat triggered a landmine in 1981 and this is now his 10th casting over a 30 year period. Kampong Chhnang province was one of the most heavily mined areas of cambodia. Ms Tech Aundoung is relocating to Myanmar soon to help deal with the growing numbers of victims affected there during the recent conflicts.

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The Cambodia Trust Prosthetics and Or...
Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia
By George Nickels
05 Nov 2012

Nurse Ms Tech Aundoung go's through the first process of sizing and making a prosthetic limb. Mr Soung Sophat triggered a landmine in 1981 and this is now his 10th casting over a 30 year period. Kampong Chhnang province was one of the most heavily mined areas of Cambodia. Ms Tech Aundoung is relocating to Myanmar soon to help deal with the growing numbers of victims affected there during the recent conflicts.

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The Cambodia Trust Prosthetics and Or...
Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia
By George Nickels
05 Nov 2012

Nurse Ms Tech Aundoung go's through the final stages of casting a landmine survivors new prosthetic limb. Ms Tech Aundoung is relocating to Myanmar soon to help deal with the growing numbers of victims affected there during the recent conflicts.

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The Cambodia Trust Prosthetics and Or...
Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia
By George Nickels
05 Nov 2012

Cambodia Trust Prosthetics technicians at various stages of work creating new arms and legs. Last year Cambodia Trust clinics in Cambodia fitted over 600 limbs, enabling there patients to have mobility again.

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The Cambodia Trust Prosthetics and Or...
Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia
By George Nickels
05 Nov 2012

A Prosthetics technician at one of the various stages of work, fixing the outer skin of rubber to the soon to be new left leg.

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The Cambodia Trust Prosthetics and Or...
Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia
By George Nickels
05 Nov 2012

Prosthetics technician team leader Mr Men Tharro pasting the outer skin of rubber with a kind of high strength glue.

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The Cambodia Trust Prosthetics and Or...
Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia
By George Nickels
05 Nov 2012

Prosthetics technicians at various stages of work creating new limbs.

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The Cambodia Trust Prosthetics and Or...
Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia
By George Nickels
05 Nov 2012

Prosthetics technician team leader Mr Men Tharro using a industrial sander to put the finishing touches to a clients new limb.

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The Cambodia Trust Prosthetics and Or...
Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia
By George Nickels
05 Nov 2012

Mr Men Tharro cuts the rubber outer skin of the prosthetic, he will then glue it to the main body and remove the excess material.

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The Cambodia Trust Prosthetics and Or...
Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia
By George Nickels
05 Nov 2012

Prosthetics technicians at various stages of work creating new limbs.

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The Cambodia Trust Prosthetics and Or...
Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia
By George Nickels
05 Nov 2012

Sisters Don Sochea and Houn Soklin show there prosthetics supplied by The Cambodian Trust. More than 40% of the villages in Cambodia have a problem with landmines, and sadly young children account for about half of all landmine victims.

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The Cambodia Trust Prosthetics and Or...
Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia
By George Nickels
05 Nov 2012

Prosthetics technicians at various stages of work creating new limbs.

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The Cambodia Trust Prosthetics and Or...
Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia
By George Nickels
05 Nov 2012

The workshop receptionist deals with the patients orders, giving them to the technicians enabling them to start the process of making new prosthetic limbs.

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The Cambodia Trust Prosthetics and Or...
Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia
By George Nickels
05 Nov 2012

Prosthetics technicians at various stages of work creating new limbs.

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The Cambodia Trust Prosthetics and Or...
Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia
By George Nickels
05 Nov 2012

Bicycle repair man Moun Sen reveals his prosthetic donated to him by The Cambodia trust after he triggered a landmine in his small village in Kampong Chhnang province. Most patients have a replacement limb every 2 to 3 years, he is due for a replacement prosthetic in the in the next 2 months, and has been granted a micro loan enabling him to start a small pig farm and bicycle repair shop.