Preah Vihear Income Generation Project – Cambodia
The VVAF (Viet Nam Veterans of America Foundation) began operations in Preah Vihear, a sparsely populated province in the far north, in July of 1995 when the mobile prosthetic team first came to visit the province capital of T’Beng Meanchey. Over 200 amputees – all of them land mine victims, met the VVAF mobile team. Ninety percent of those treated were receiving prostheses for the first time. On average, these amputees have been without a limb for seven years.
Preah Vihear is very poor, even by Cambodian standards, and there is little economic activity outside subsistence rice farming. Preah Vihear residents are often unable to grow sufficient paddy rice to adequately feed themselves throughout the year, and thus suffer two to six months of hunger yearly before the new harvest.
Preah Vihear’s extreme isolation and poverty make delivery of assistance even more difficult than is normally the case in less war-affected regions of the country – and has slowed recovery now that the wars are over. Already at risk, those unfortunate enough to step on a landmine face complete destitution. One out of every 236 people in Cambodia is an amputee.
The VVAF introduced a pilot project in skills training and income generation concentrating on amputee women, often the most vulnerable of the disabled population. (Please click here to see article by Tony Aspler, “The Weavers of Preah Vihear”.
Grapes for Humanity will fund another income generation project in Northern Cambodia, modeled after the project in Preah Vihear.