After the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970’s, an estimated 2.2 million Cambodian people had been killed. The death toll was tragic, but the lasting effects of the genocide were even greater. Many people had been separated from their families, leaving countless widows and orphans. A plethora of psychosocial and medical issues, such as lack of education, ill health, unemployment, poverty, and psychological trauma from years of war began to manifest in dangerous behavior. Drug and alcohol addiction increased, child and mother mortality rates increased, diseases spread quickly, and criminal behavior became commonplace. Worried by the crisis and the state of the Cambodian people, Professor Sedtha Long decided to help by creating the Build Your Future Today Center (BFT) in Siem Reap.
BFT aims to provide intellectual and economic tools to those who have been living in poverty and through hardships so that they may improve their lives and attain self-sufficiency. The center is comprised of community education development that aims to increase literacy rates, a child support center that provides food, education, clothes, shelter, health services, and entertainment for the children, a community health/nutrition development center aimed at improving nutrition, hygiene, and sanitation, community peace building focused on reducing family violence, and a community capacity building and livelihood improvement center aimed at reducing extreme poverty and hunger. Due to the extensive amount of community and individual development BFT targets and its commitment to the Cambodian people, GlobeMed at the University of Virginia (Globemed at UVa) decided to partner with them in order to provide funds for projects starting in the Fall of 2011.
GlobeMed at UVa’s specific project with BFT is a 4-year proposal (starting from January 2013 and lasting until December 2017) that focuses on the villages of Arak Svay and Sre Rabong in the Siem Reap province. The main purposes of the project are:
- Eliminate malnutrition in pre-school and school aged children by providing funds to access nutritious and substantial food
- Reduce rate of child and mother mortality by providing primary awareness about health through lessons and practice
- Improve quality of education and eliminate illiteracy by improving the quality of teaching and learning through a child-friendly school and school readiness program
In the Summer of 2012, GlobeMed at UVa traveled to Siem Reap for 5 weeks, during which it started to set the foundation for the project in the village of Arak Svay, met with the village, got to know the community, and accomplished preliminary tasks such as BMI analysis of the children and inventory of the resources needed to move forward. This year, GlobeMed hopes to raise $10,000 to help further the project and begin to establish it this summer in the village of Sre Rabong, as well. Through this project, about 128 families (culminating in 639 people) in Arak Svay, and 125 families (culminating 537 people) in Sre Rabong will have the skills and resources to lead healthier lives with greater opportunity.
BFT believes that knowledge is hope and peace is development.
Will you help us support these people and their beliefs?