SAMAKI KHMER, A SOLIDARITY ASSOCIATION

SAMAKI KHMER, A SOLIDARITY ASSOCIATION

Samaki Khmer is an anti-poverty association created in 2005 in Cambodia. Its objective is to provide effective tools and infrastructures to rural families in poverty for them to be able to raise themselves out of poverty.

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A few words on the current situation in Cambodia

A few words on the current situation in Cambodia

There has been peace in Cambodia since 1996. Nevertheless, it was strongly affected by the totalitarian and genocidal regime of the Khmer Rouge, who led the country from 1975 to 1979 and was responsible for the death of 1.7 million people, or 20% of the population. Despite being driven out of power by the Vietnamese who invaded Cambodia in 1979, the Khmer Rouge continued their guerrilla activities until they disappeared in the late 1990s. Throughout this period of civil war, its population suffered from many disease epidemics caused by lack of medicines, skilled doctors and famine that prevailed throughout the country. Despite political stability since the election of Hun Sen as Prime Minister in 1998 and famine and disease thankfully being no longer widespread, one third of Cambodians still live below the poverty line, while annual economic growth is 10%. Similarly, the country's main source of income is related to agriculture and 80% of the population still lives in the countryside, often in precarious health and financial conditions. The country, whose economy still depends largely on international aid, is also paralysed by the corruption that rages even among the highest authorities of the state. Life expectancy is now 63 years (which is about 20 years less than in Western countries), and the population of this country is growing at an exponential rate. 55% of the population is less than 25 years old.

All these things add up to a difficult situation for many Cambodians. Like many other organisations, Samaki Khmer is helping, one family at a time, where it is most needed.

The concept

The concept

Samaki Khmer a mis en place trois moyens de lutter, à son échelle, contre la précarité qui frappe les villages défavorisés aux alentours de Phnom Penh et de Siem Reap :

Samaki Khmer has three ways of improving the living conditions of disadvantaged families in villages in the vicinity of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap:

Replacement of slums with houses financed by donations and built by local craftsmen. (Cost of a house: US$1500 or about 1080 €)

Construction of sanitary blocks to improve hygiene in villages. (Cost of a sanitary block: US$750, or about 540 €)

Installation of solar powered lighting in areas without electricity. (Cost of solar lighting: US$100, or about 72 €)

The construction of sanitary blocks and solar lights is coupled with the construction of small houses for very simple reasons. Better hygiene means families will not fall sick as often and will therefore be fit to work and look after themselves and also need to spend less money on essential healthcare. Also the Cambodian water distribution network is old and does not serve all the villages of the country; in many villages well or pit water is collected for use. In addition, many water sources are extremely polluted, especially around the Mekong river - one of the most polluted rivers in the world. The same applies to electricity, its distribution system is even more dilapidated than that of water, the power is unreliable and the cost of connection and usage, even if available is beyond the means of many.

These three installations will improve provide safe, dry housing for families, improve hygiene conditions and provide access to a small light source at dusk, essential for cooking meals and for school homework.

Who determines which family requires the most assistance?

Who determines which family requires the most assistance?

The Samaki Khmer association consults directly with the village chief and the project leader in order to decide which family is the most at need currently Two major criteria are taken into account:

The family needs priority assistance compared to other villagers.

The family must own the land on which the house or sanitary block will be built.

How are these facilities financed?

How are these facilities financed?

Remember, every penny can make a difference in the fight against poverty in Cambodia.

The Samaki Khmer association uses donations from individuals or companies, partnerships and grants to build or implement these significant improvements for the lives of families living in poverty. Any donation amount is accepted and significant donors will receive a commemorative plaque at the inauguration of a facility. All projects are implemented with full transparency and regular feedback on the progress of the project.