Social and Employment
Samlot, region of Battambang, Cambodia
30.000 € to the Selection Committee at 2006/03/28
Project leader Handicap International
« Like many others, during the trip to Cambodia, I was witness to the many difficulties faced by the population, and particularly all the handicapped persons. I am particularly happy to participate in a project that will improve the life of several hundred handicapped children »
In the early 1980s, after the difficult years spent under the dictatorship of the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia “earned” the sad privilege of becoming one of the world’s most devastated countries. More than 20 years after the official end of the civil war which ravaged the country, the soil of certain regions still conceals hundreds of small mines, despite the many clearance campaigns. As a consequence of this situation, Cambodia has one of the world’s highest rates of accidents and mutilated persons.
Handicap International, the spearhead of the international fight against antipersonnel mines, and an association originating in Lyon, has conducted many projects in Cambodia since 1982 to help the victims of these terrible weapons. After having equipped thousands of handicapped persons, it acts now to promote their integration in Cambodian society in the throes of reconstruction.
The highest rate of handicapped persons
In the district of Battambang, which holds the record for the highest rate of mine caused accidents throughout the country, it is currently mobilizing to facilitate school access to children… and their teachers. The twenty-eight schools of the region have 8500 children, including 343 handicapped and 19% of teachers who are themselves amputees.
With its engineers, Handicap International has carried out an overall technical study aimed to make all school establishments accessible, as well as their amenities. Thus the buildings, classrooms, blackboards, as well as sanitary blocks and access to the various water points will be the subject of operations necessary to enable the handicapped children and teachers to move around without problems. This vast project, handled by local contractors, will also create thirty jobs.
Faced with the huge needs that Cambodia demonstrates in the field of handicapped persons, and also in many other parts of the world, Handicap International wishes to make this program a pilot project in terms of accessibility. Based on what will be done in Samlot, the association intends to encourage the Cambodian government to draft accessibility standards concerning all school installations. Beyond this, the project could serve as a showcase for the rest of the world and to reinforce this demonstration, it wanted to enlist a single major patronage firm to finance the operations. It therefore turned to the Veolia foundation went along with its request and granted 30 000 euros to implement this simple conviction: all the little Cambodians and all the handicapped children must be able to go to school!