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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Former UN soldiers continue work as civilians

Former UN soldiers continue work as civilians

F ORMER "Blue Helmets" - ex-soldiers who worked for United Nations' peacekeeping

missions - have formed an association to continue humanitarian work as


The first lengthy project to be undertaken by the

newly-established NGO Soldiers of Peace International Association (SPIA) is in


Ex-French Marines David Hornus, Yves Rueda and Jean-Marie Blanc

are in Svey Rieng building three new classrooms at a school that teaches 1500

children in just three existing rooms. The school has another 20 classrooms that

are broken down and unfit for any use.

SPIA, a French-based association

that has just received first category NGO status from the UN, is 7,000-strong

and growing rapidly as "Blue Helmets" gradually retire from their respective

armies. SPIA has French, Irish, Danish, Swedish, Dutch, Norwegian, German and

British ex-UN soldiers.

Members want to continue the work they did as

peacekeepers, and, as money can be raised, teams will be sent to their former

countries of tour. The $15,000 raised by this first team to Cambodia came from

French government grants, and small of private donations.



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