A brief history
Cambodia has endured centuries of turmoil, the greatest of which was the Communist invasion lead by Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge in 1975 seized power of Cambodia. It is estimated that Pol Pot’s regime was a reign of terror and genocide which took the lives of around 1.7m people who died of starvation, overwork, disease, or killed. Sadly, the regime abolished education, money, hospitals, traditional culture, religion and private property ownership, and those with education or wealth were killed. In 1979, Vietnam invaded and took control of the country, during which a civil war continued until the early 1990s.
Since 1993, Cambodia has been a constitutional monarchy ruled by a coalition government that has been trying to rebuild the country with the help of foreign aid, and after centuries of isolation, it became a full-fledged member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1999.
Population And Demographics
With Phnom Penh as its capital, Cambodia shares its borders with Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos and, has a population of approximately 17m people. 80% of Cambodians live in rural areas, making the country one of the least urbanised and the poorest in the world. Its climate is hot and dry, with a landscape that is dominated by rice paddies.
Cambodia is still on the long road to recovery from the tragedies and traumas of destruction that still haunt it today. Our team is based in Kampong Speu, which is 40Kms from Phnom Penh Airport and is one of the poorest areas in Cambodia. Currently, our focus is on the areas of education and medicine.
Good education is not readily available to most Cambodians. The public schools do not have the resources, and the private schools are unaffordable for the majority.
We currently have around 50 students who are not only being taught the main school subjects but other skills such as English and computer skills.
Non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, and type2 diabetes are on the rise in urbanised areas, but the most common health problems for Cambodians include food, waterborne and vector-borne infectious diseases such as diarrhea, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, and malaria among others, due to poor water quality and sanitation.
The financial burden of medical services in Cambodia is huge and although it is improving, in both public and private hospitals, access to quality care is still a big problem for most Cambodians.
Our medical services focus is not only the common ailments, but the total well-being of the community by providing health awareness talks and workshops.
In 2022, Thanksgiving Australia sent a team of medical volunteers from all fields, to provide medical care in Kampong Speu Province which was a great success. It is anticipated that these medical convoys will be sent on a regular basis.
Our dream is to establish a school and medical centre in Kampong Speu, and to reach out to surrounding communities in need.