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PM’s peace prize cash to build homes for vets

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Veterans attend the handover ceremony of houses in Kampong Thom province’s Santuk district on February 10. FACEBOOK

PM’s peace prize cash to build homes for vets

The Cambodian Veterans Association (CVA), plans to construct another 3,000 homes for veterans across the country. More than 5,000 have been built in the last 10 years.

Speaking at a handover ceremony of 140 houses and land to veterans on February 14, CVA secretary-general Kun Kim said there are nearly 100,000 veterans in Cambodia. More than 7,000 of them did not own a home or land for their families.

The government is working to rectify this, with more than 5,000 families already being gifted houses. The remaining estimated 3,000 families would receive houses, some of which would be built for them using the $1 million prize money awarded to Prime Minister Hun Sen as part of the 2022 Sunhak Peace Prize Founder’s Award. Kim said the premier has also appealed to donors to contribute to the construction.

He added that he regularly travels across the country to investigate which veterans are without homes or land, and submits his findings to the prime minister.

“We are waiting for [Hun Sen] to receive his peace medal together with the $1 million prize, which he has earmarked for veteran’s homes.

“We plan to divide the money based on the size of each province – and increase the amount for large families. In Kampong Thom, there are almost 4,000 people. They have asked for 45 more houses, so I will ask the president to build them when the $1 million arrives,” he said.

Kim stated that the $1 million will not be enough to build homes for all of the remaining veterans. It will be allocated based on priority and the individual circumstances of each veteran.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said in September that he intended to use the Sunhak prize money to build these houses.

“This $1 million, if used to build veterans homes, will be extremely useful, as each home costs around $4,000. Because I am the president of the veterans association, I must commit these funds to helping them,” he said.

Thon Thoeun, a senior official at the Ministry of National Defence and president of the CVA in Kampong Chhnang province, told The Post on February 14 that the government has demonstrated its gratitude to veterans by providing them with houses and land which they can use to make a living.

In Kampong Chhnang alone, the government as well as stakeholders have built houses for 44 veterans and have plans to build more, he said.

According to Thoeun, Cambodian Red Cross president Bun Rany Hun Sen has also announced plans to construct an additional 155 houses for veterans in Kampong Chhnang.

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