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Protect the rural poor from con man

Dear Editor,

Children from Cambodia is a Belgian nonprofit organisation that was founded as a consequence of the life story of Ruan Hauchecorne. Ruan is a former Khmer Rouge refugee who was adopted by a Belgian family. A few years ago, he found his remaining family members back in Boeng Nimol village (Kampot province) thanks to an article in your paper. Ruan still lives in Belgium and he founded Children from Cambodia in order to collect money in Belgium to finance limited humanitarian projects in his homeland.

Since its foundation, members of Children of Cambodia go once a year to Kampot province to work on small humanitarian projects including:

  • vaccinations
  • well-drilling
  • delivering school supplies
  • sanitation projects
  • English language training
  • small-bridge construction

In May 2010, we stayed for four weeks in Boeng Nimol, vaccinating 550 children, drilling 15 wells and providing school equipment to two different schools and toilets in another.

It was our intention to repair a wooden bridge in Kohsla village, Kampot province. We discovered this bridge during our stay in 2009 and at that time,the bridge was in a very bad and dangerous condition. One child lost his life in a fatal accident due to the bad condition of the bridge.

When we arrived at the bridge this year, we found out that one of the villagers repaired a part of it and local people using the bridge have to pay a fee every time they have to cross.

The so-called owner of the bridge pretends that he has to recover his expenses for having repaired the bridge. People have to pay 500 or 1,000 riels per passage, and we believe that this so-called owner has been fully reimbursed.

As far as we are informed, the situation has not changed, and people are still paying for crossing. This is definitely against the philosophy of Children of Cambodia, and we ask the support of anyone in order to help us stop this swindling of innocent poor people.

Katie Hermans and Jan Savelkoels
Belgium

Send letters to: newsroom@phnompenhpost.com or PO?Box 146, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Post reserves the right to edit letters to a shorter length. The views expressed above are solely the author’s and do not reflect any positions taken by The Phnom Penh Post.

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