CAMBODIA is a small country in southeast Asia with a war-torn past. In recent years, after 25 years of terror, the country has become an emerging market on the Asian continent. Nonetheless, 80% of the population still lives in rural areas, with no means to develop economically (UNESCO).
At first glance, Cambodia may seem like a country of happy people who always put on their best smiles. But interaction with locals reveals the existence of great contradictions, like very distinct social classes, and barely contained concerns and fears, especially in rural areas.
All this is visible throughout the country: you just need to look a little deeper to find out each family’s story. It is a place of contrasts where majestic temples exploited by the tourism industry attract more than 5 million tourists each year, at an entrance fee of $20 per day. But the average salary of a teacher starts at $100, and that of an unqualified worker is less than $80.
In spite of the money that tourism in Cambodia generates, the province of Siem Riep continues to be one of the poorest in the country. This is due to the continuous influx of people with limited resources from other areas who come looking for opportunity. It should also be emphasized that 75% of income from tourism leaves the country and 70% of food consumed by tourists is imported.
The entire country is trying to move forward and overcome the devastating consequences of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime, the Vietnamese invasion, and the war, which lasted until 1998. The population trusts in the development of the country, but there is still a lot of work to do. Our goal is to work together, because there’s no better symbol of hope than seeing children setting off for school on bikes.
Puok is located 25km from the tourist centre of Siem Reap and barely 15km from the majestic temples of Angkor Watt.
Our Project is located specifically in Prey Tlock village (Puok district). According to the infographic produced by the Cambodian government in 2012, 54% of the population lives below the extreme poverty line. When it comes to school, 31% of children between 6 and 12 don’t attend. And 60% of those children don’t continue with secondary school studies, according to the study just mentioned.
«54% of the population lives below the extreme poverty line»
Education, as we have already seen, is the future of the country, as 31% of the population is less than 13 years old. It is very important to work hand in hand with children and their families so that children go to school more and have a future filled with opportunities.
Consequently, CAMBOYA SONRÍE will also help with emergency situations. There are many families who can’t eat daily or well, and in the rainy season some are left homeless because of flooding. The town where we work is also in need of powdered milk for young children.
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