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Posted by: | Posted on: December 3, 2008

Successful NGO should be replicated

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

FEDA Cambodia – Ksach Poy

December 3, 2008
A. Gaffar Peang-Meth
Pacific Daily News

Once, Cambodia was a powerful empire that ruled areas of today’s Laos to the north, the former South Vietnam to the east, Thailand to the west and a portion of Malaysia to the south.

Imperial expansionism, wars, disease, mismanagement of state power and the economy, and internal discord, have reduced Cambodia to its present size of 69,898 square miles, of which 90 percent is rural and poor. Thirty-five percent of the country’s 14 million people, earn less than 50 cents a day; some scavenge city dumps and live on rat meat.

Several miles southeast of Battambang city, on the Sangker River, lies a village called Ksach Poy. During the reign of the Khmer Rouge, villagers there revolted and the village became a killing field.

In 1979, after Vietnamese troops knocked Pol Pot out of power and sent his gangs fleeing to the Thai border, 16-year-old Soth Plai Ngarm, from a Khmer Rouge forced labor unit, walked through Ksach Poy, where his mother and relatives lived. He saw “dead bodies and corpses everywhere.” He shed tears and moved toward the Thai border. As Ngarm later speaks, he had “almost no hope” in humanity.

In the 1980s, destiny drew a path for Ngarm and me to meet.
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