O VER 300 dedicated volunteers are each week befriending orphans, providing free
education to illiterate adults and children, collecting garbage and doing city
beautification works, and offering rehabilitation programs to villains in
projects launched by the Cambodian Volunteers for Community Development
Arn Chorn Pond, Deputy-President of CVCD, founded in December
1992, said: "CVCD has 40 volunteer staff divided into different groups which
organize over 300 people to help the community in particular areas. We
especially try to help the poor and vulnerable people."
Pond said: "One
staff group organizes people to collect rubbish twice monthly.
volunteer garbage cleaner said: "I do about 3 days work a month with CVCD, I get
no pay but I'm enthusiastic to do my job because I don't want Khmers to be
despised by foreigners.
"The team are happy to clean any area and are
always available to take up duty upon the request of local authorities who
sometimes get involved in the projects. We also educate people on being
Another volunteer said: "Before we did not discriminate as to
which areas we cleaned. Often we would clean areas near big business places, but
the people there were so mean they would not even spend a small amount of money
to buy drinking water for us.
"Often poor monks who helped the team had
to buy water for us. Volunteers are now more eager to clean in poor
Pond said: "The garbage collecting group now has problems due to
a lack of equipment. We used to borrow garbage trucks and equipment from the
Phnom Penh municipality cleaning service to collect and dispose of garbage. But
since the French firm APD took over responsibility for collecting Phnom Penh's
rubbish we can no-longer borrow the equipment."
Pond said: "Another CVCD
group teach English and Khmer to illiterate people. So far we have taught
English to about 500 adults. Other men attend our rehabilitation classes. Often
they confess they do nothing during the day and steal during the night because
they consider themselves unfortunate and unable to live normal
Chin Kethya, an English teacher who assists CVCD, said: "I am
happy to teach students free of charge because I want to see Khmers be
self-reliable and I do not want foreigners to look down on
Kethya said the educational programs at CVCD had helped over 350
adults find jobs, and the rehabilitation programs had helped over 70 percent of
villains and desperados to become better people.
Pond said: "Another CVCD
group, called 'Big Brothers and Sisters', coordinate people to become friends
with orphans. The group also organized activities for the orphans like taking
them to the countryside.
"We used to take the orphans swimming at the
Cambodiana, but now the hotel will not let the children swim there, and the
manager refuses to meet us to discuss the issue."
Pond said: "Another
CVCD group, called 'Save the Children', is dedicated to helping the city's poor
children. Each day over 50 children attend one and a half hour classes where
they learn basic Khmer."
Pond, A 34 year old Cambodian American, complained: "CVCD completely lacks
everything. Of our staff only the English teachers get paid anything, $30 per
month funded by PACT. We have no budget to do anything. Our office has no
furniture or equipment, but ICCD has pledged to provide us with about 15
computers. We hope to expand and have offices and programs in every province."