The Cambodian Red Cross (CRC) on April 7 revealed that, since 2005, it has provided interest-free micro-loans to 8,376 households identified as poor or at high risk of encountering landmines, or those with veterans or disabled members.

All households were based in the provinces of Pursat, Battambang, Pailin, Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey, Kandal and Preah Vihear, it said in a statement.

Purported objectives of the loans include: minimising the risk of exposure to landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW); improving livelihoods, such as crop growing, animal husbandry, clothes retailing, and bicycle and motorcycle repair.

The loan scheme is now concentrated on 15 towns and districts in Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear, Pursat and Pailin provinces, the statement noted.

Of note, on April 6-7 the CRC provided these loans to 169 households – over two per cent of the total – in Pailin province, it said, adding that each household received one million riel ($250) to support their agricultural activities.

The CRC remarked that the scheme promotes a culture of sharing and is in line with the “Khmers help Khmers” principle, with repaid funds lent to others, helping them grow as well.