The Past Cambodia has had a rich and powerful past but by the mid-19th century the country was on the verge of dissolve. The French took colonial rule over Cambodia in 1863 and the country gained full independence in 1953 Throughout the 1950s and â€˜60s Cambodia was self-sufficient and prospered in many areas. However the quagmire of war in Vietnam spilled over into Cambodia. Prince Sihanouk was overthrown by Cambodian General, Lon Nol, who was then overthrown by the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge brought back Prince Sihanouk from exile only to hold him under house arrest. What followed was four years of terror. The Khmer Rouge regime, led by Pol Pot, immediately evacuated the cities and sent the entire population on to rural work projects. The Khmer Rouge intent was to rebuild the country on an 11th century agriculture model, discarded Western medicine, and destroyed temples, libraries, and anything considered Western. Workers, technicians, students, monks, ministers, foreigners, wives and children were executed. The smallest infringement of the rules or any lack of support resulted in execution. Between 1975 and 1979 it is estimated that up to a third of the then 8 million population died from execution, overwork, starvation and disease. In 1979 the Khmer Rouge were overthrown and the Vietnamese and the Peopleâ€™s Republic of Kampuchea was established. Throughout the 1980s Cambodia began to rebuild with the assistance of Vietnamese military and political advisers. In May 1993 the UN supervised general elections in Cambodia, the same year adopted a constitution and King Norodom Sihanouk returned to the throne. Above: One of several beds used by the Khmer Rouge for interrogation and torture in S21, a converted high school in Phnom Penh.
Above: A photograph from the Tuol Seng (S21) Genocide Museum. Right top: Photographs from records kept by the Kmer Rouge of their victims. Right middle: Skulls from Khmer Rouge victims recovered from mass graves at Choeung Ek extermination camp 15km outside Phnom Penh. Right bottom: Human remains continue to be exposed in the ground after rain at Choeung Ek. There are 360 similar â€˜killing fieldsâ€™ throughout Cambodia.
The Present 60% of the now 14 million population rely on agriculture for their livelihood. Other important sectors include garments, construction and tourism. In 2005, oil and natural gas deposits were found beneath Cambodia’s territorial waters. Once extraction begins in 2011, the oil revenues could profoundly affect Cambodia’s economy. Cambodia has achieved a degree of stability following many years of devastating conflict. It has enjoyed relatively solid growth over the last decade, but successive global food, fuel and economic crisis, rising inflation, and a narrow export base are putting pressure on the economy. Cambodia remains one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia. The United Nations Human Development Index ranks Cambodia 137 out of 182 countries in terms of quality of life. There has been gradual progress in reducing poverty, however Cambodia faces a range of challenges. Organised crime, corruption in government, infectious diseases and climate change continue to threaten the region’s stability and prosperity. Trafficking of persons for sexual or labour exploitation and narcotics trafficking are growing problems. HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria jeopardise the region’s human resource capacity and vulnerability to pandemics and emerging infectious diseases is exacerbated by weak national health systems. Climate change impacts in the Mekong region are likely to be severe and threaten to erode development gains, impacting most heavily on the poor. Never the less Cambodians in general are delightful, hardworking and wonderful people. There is reason to be optimistic about the country’s future. The Cambodian economy is growing. International assistance and support has been strong and the country is politically stable and a relatively safe place to visit to enjoy the intriguing
Above: Market Street, Kampong Thom Town, Kampong Thom.
Top: Proud dad wanting his children photographed, Phnom Penh. Above: A security guard makes his way in Phnom Penh. Right: Blind beggar, Kampong Thom. Cambodia has three eye surgeons!
Opposite page top left: Shaving old school, Kampong Thom. Opposite top right: Stall, Central Market, Phnom Penh. Opposite bottom left: Street scape, Phnom Penh. Can you spot the pig? Opposite bottom right: Clothes washing on the banks of the Stung Saen River, Kampong Thom. Above: One of Cambodiaâ€™s 25,000 land mine victims.
Above left: Security guard, Central Market, Phnom Penh. Above: River boat people, Mekong River, Phnom Penh. Yes they live on that! Opposite page: A woman waits for someone to buy incense in the Prasat Phimeanakas Temple, Angkor.
Above: A young girl leads her blind father across a busy road, Phnom Penh.
Left: Russian Markets, Phnom Penh.
Opposite page: Russian Market, Phnom Penh. . Above: Fishmonger, Central Market, Phnom Penh. Above centre: Fresh chicken, Russian Market, Phnom Penh. Above right: Fish heads, liver, crabs, Russian Market, Phnom Penh.
Opposite page top left: Chicken, sprouts with spring onions. Opposite top right: Yellow chicken curry. Opposite bottom left: Not sure but gee it tasted good! Opposite bottom right: Beans with chilli. Above: Mixed fruit juice. Above right: Sliced apple.
This page: Various market goods. Opposite page: Traditional dress.
Opposite page: Country road, Kampong Thom. Above: Commuters, Phnom Penh. Above left: Bringing the cows in.
Left: Field workers, Svay Reing. Above: On the mill stone, Svay Reing.
Above: Villager, Svay Reing. Above centre: At the 200 year old well, Andong Village. Above right: Field worker, Svay Reing.
Opposite page top left: Off to work, Svay Reing. Opposite top right: House proud, Svay Reing. Opposite bottom left: On the road, Takeo. Opposite bottom right: Commuters, Svey Reing. Above: Off to work.
Left: Father and son, Svay Reing. Top: On the cart, Kampong Thom. Above: Water Lilly, Svay Reing. Opposite page: Dad checking out his son fishing, Svay Reing.
The Future Children are the future of Cambodia. Did you know: • The average per capita income is $1 per day. • 40% of the population are children below the age of 15. • 36% of children under 5 years of age are moderately or severely under weight and 37% are under height for their age. • 25% of children die from diseases before they reach 5 years old. • Acute malnutrition in poor urban children increased to 15.9% in 2008. • 25% of families don’t have a male breadwinner. • There are 374 qualified dentists in Cambodia, one for every 30,000 people. • Over 30,000 Cambodian children aged under 15 have lost their parents as a result of AIDS. • There are 80,000 to 100,000 commercial sex workers in Cambodia. 30% are under 18. • 58% of sex workers claim that they were sold into prostitution. • In 2003 the Cambodian police investigated over 400 human trafficking-related cases. • 11% of children have access to early education services. • 27 out 1000 children complete secondary school. The most practicle way to contribute to the country’s development is by investing in the Cambodian children’s basic education. Source: http://www.cambcomm.org.uk/ff.html
Above: Village girl, Svay Reing. Right: Girl, Andong Village.
Opposite page: No Play Stations here, Kampong Thom. Above: Heading home, Kampong Thom. Right: Boys finish up their meal from a feeding mission, Kampong Thom.
Above right: A young girl goes through some household rubbish looking for anything of value, Phnom Penh. Above centre: Coming back from the field. Above left: Child workers raising money to buy food for their family or their “boss”. Either way while they have to do this they’re not getting an education.
Above: Bringing the ox in from the fields at the end of the day.
Above left: One of the 95 children being treated for HIV/AIDs at the House of Rainbow Bridge, Phnom Penh. Top: The nurse stands in front of the medicine rationed out for each of the children. At a cost of $10,000 per month to run the centre is a huge challenge that can only be met by sponsors. Above: One of the bedrooms.
Above: Amazing kids! Above centre: Precautions need to be made due to the weaken immune systems. Above right: An ajar door to a shed out the back of the playground reveals the reality of the disease.
Opposite page: Two of the 570,000 orphans in Cambodia, Phnom Penh. Above: An orphan boy gets to sneak away for a treat â€” A packet of noodles, Sovanapoom. Right: Orphan girls gets her face painted, Phnom Penh.
Above: left: School children follow the actions to a song, Takeo. Above: A schoolboy waits for his class to begin, Andong Village.
Above: An English student gazes out the window of her class room, Andong Village.