40 years after it was founded in the Cambodian refugee camps in Thailand, HI continues to support the most vulnerable Cambodians, including hundreds of survivors of mines and explosive remnants of war.
Say Noy, victim of a road accident, is a beneficiary of HI | ©Lucas Veuve/HI
Actions in process
HI’s work in Cambodia aims to reduce preventable impairments, to improve access to high quality health and rehabilitation services for people with disabilities, and to promote their social and economic independence. The organization is also aiming to reduce armed violence.
HI has been working in Cambodia since 1982, however, between 1982 and 1986, HI worked under the umbrella of American Friend Service Committee. In 1987, HI started to operate under its own name. Today, HI is recognized in the country as a major disability actor. Although there have been many achievements, we can highlight the following:
- Rehabilitation sector
- Mine sector
- Road Safety
- Mother and Child health
Today, the organisation continues to support the provincial rehabilitation centre in Kampong Cham to ensure it provides quality rehabilitation services, including remote rehabilitation services, and to ensure the sustainability of the sector. There are more and more victims of road traffic injuries, people who had a stroke and congenital deficiencies who are coming at the rehabilitation centre. To this end, HI is training staff and improving the center’s management system.
HI focuses on access to rehabilitation, care for all, and early childhood development. Early childhood is a crucial window of opportunity to prepare the foundation for life-long learning and participation. The organisation is also working to promote the economic inclusion of people with disabilities to reduce poverty and social exclusion in a sustainable way. The organisation promotes participation of every citizen, including vulnerable people in local governance.
HI is currently training mine clearance specialists from the Cambodia Self-Help Demining association (CSHD), a Cambodian mine action organisation that participates in clearance efforts. Cambodia aims to be landmine-free by 2025.
Situation of the country
Cambodia endured the radical communist Khmer Rouge's regime under the leadership of Pol Pot between 1975 and 1978 – when two million people died, and Vietnamese occupation between 1978 and 1992.
The conflict ended in 1991 with the signing of the Paris Comprehensive Peace settlement. The country has since experienced relative stability, economic growth and some significant progress, the most striking being the decline in maternal and infant mortality rates. However, Cambodia remains among the poorest countries in Southeast Asia.
There is still much poverty and inequality. There is continued corruption and impunity for the richest members of society and numerous problems remain unresolved. The still-fragile economy generates little public revenue, which explains the continued weaknesses in the health and education systems.
Number of HI staff members: 55
Date the programme opened: 1987