Imagine a country on a par with prosperous and cosmopolitan Bangkok. 50 years ago Phnom Penh was the “pearl of the orient”. Then, devastated by decades of invasion, topped by Pol Pot’s genocidal Khmer Rouge years, the capital is now regarded as world head-quarters of pedophilia and squalor. The heavily populated rural areas fared worse in Pol Pot’s misguided agrarian revolution.
Imagine an area of 12 villages where no one has been to school. Ever. Where twelve hours work gets a dollar a day. Where there is no social welfare of any description. Where ordinary families want the best for their children but know that in the short run the only option is to succumb to the sex industry.
The only way out this trap for families of these villages of Don Kong in the Kamchay Mear district of Prey Veng is education – at the very least to able to read and write their own language.
The Cambodian government and a world full of agencies are desperately trying to deal with this. But until there is a new generation of educated people, it cannot be reversed.
With help of friends, family, and donors around the world, and in particular the Rotary clubs of Australia (so far), John has got 1000 children into three new schools. Our next project is – he hopes – a high school and a clinic. None 0f this can happen without your help. John Mann gives a truly astonishing interview.
Shane’s number of the week: 20,000 hectares of new rain-forest as part of Willie Smits’ Orangutan habitat restoration.
Sam’s joined-up-thinking: There is not going to be a singular event that definitively signals “peak oil is happening now”. Climate Change is the same. With gradual and insidious change (though with increasing occurrence of catastrophic events in both scenarios) decisions made now need to made in the context of the knowledge of those scenarios.
More on John’s Educating Cambodia: