Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Nail polish and flak jackets: Women in the minefields



Nail polish and flak jackets: Women in the minefields

Nail polish and flak jackets: Women in the minefields

T HE Mines Advisory Group's ambitious experiment of training widows and handicapped

as deminers is paying off, with the trainees becoming more self-confident and worthy.

Ton So Kha, 30, a widow with two children who lost her husband to a mine in 1991,

says her life is richer and more stable now. Her children now go to school "and

perhaps soon I can buy a house instead of rent" with the $170 per month salary.

So Kha used to sell sweets; now she finds and digs out the very bombs that killed

her husband. Before MAG "was an awful lifetime for me. My floating life depended

on relatives. So I forced myself to be a deminer, even though I was so scared because

my husband died for them... It's all right for me now," she says. "This

is my routine job which I repeat every day.

There have been no accidents with the women or handicapped deminers. Asian regional

director of MAG, Chris Horwood, said that his initial fears that perhaps the women

would not be accepted working in the mine fields was totally unfounded. "There

is no problem... they are very strict and conscientious," he said. Horwood said

that he wantd to give a chance to all those people who may get the benefit from something

from which they had once lost so heavily. MAG will employ 40 more women and amputees

next year, according to Horwood. "I thought that his job was only for men. But

my thoughts fell away. Here, we have many women who're doing the same jobs as men

do," deminer Sou Sophia said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and