Poverty misconceptions

A village in Kos Sla, northern Kampot Province. Photo by Don Bosco Kep Children Fund, January 2014.

A village in Kos Sla, northern Kampot Province. Photo by Don Bosco Kep Children Fund, January 2014.

Visitors from developed countries can get impressed by the simplicity of the Cambodian rural families. Such impression can lead to confusions of what is poverty and it is often profit by certain individuals for the embezzlement of funds. Donors have the duty to guarantee that their funds will reach the real needs of vulnerable people and thus it is important to learn the meaning of concepts like poverty, as well as to improve the methods to fight it in an authentic effective way. To measure the social impact of any project is as much as important as planning.  Continue reading

Bill Gates breaking myths on poverty

The annual letter of the Bill & Mellinda Gates Foundation is an excellent start for this year in our commitment to reduce poverty in a country like Cambodia through the means of education. In “3 Myths that Block Progress for the Poor”, Gates explains how some preconceptions reduce the capacity of supporting poor communities to overcome poverty. The first myth is that poor countries remain poor, the second is that foreign aid is a big waste and the last one is that saving lives leads to overpopulation.

Read more in Don Bosco Kep.

How to become a volunteer in Cambodia

There are many people interested in becoming a volunteer. Frankly, there are also many misconceptions about volunteering. You can find online guides of how to become a volunteer. There also well established and big organizations offering such opportunity in a very systematic process like the United Nations or middle organizations. I will not build here an online guide, but I will share my experience of years in a country like Cambodia, so famous for its several humanitarian organizations and volunteers. Continue reading

Free training opportunities for young people in Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh. The KOMISO Vocational Training Center invites people from poor communities in Phnom Penh or Cambodia to join free skill courses in modern sewing, hair salon, hair cutting and motorbike repairing in its headquarters in the Banla Saet village, Khmuonh commune, Sen Sok district in Phnom Penh. Courses last between five and six months, from Monday to Friday (7:30 – 11:30; 13:00 – 17:00). The students have also six hours of moral lessons and two hours of business ethics and planning every week. The institution supports also the transport of students living in three nearby villages, New Andong and Sen Sok mainly. A house near the school was rented as a male residence for students, while offering the three meals for KOMISO students. Continue reading

Rip-Off?

This article of opinion by KJK, author of ‘All About Cambodia‘, a perspective of the current problem on land expropiations in Cambodia.

I posted a story in August 2009 about a little village at the junction of Hanoi Road and State Road 5A. (‘Where is all the outrage?) At that time the residents of that village, nothing more than an assembly of wooden shacks in a deplorable state, had to pay $100 per family to get their name on the Sangkat list for relocation. All families on the list made them eligible for a plot of land somewhere else as part of compensation for the loss of their current dwellings. A developer who saw some merit in the location at the junction of two major roads had obviously bought the land. The way this little settlement looks now it is probably a boon for the residents to be relocated. The only thing that bothers me personally is that they haven’t been informed of the new location. Continue reading…

Young journalism in Cambodia

At the end of November I had the visit of EFE’s reporter Laura Villadiego, who came to know my project of social communication and journalism in the Don Bosco Technical School of Sihanoukville. She wrote an article about the experience, underlining the fact that journalism is taught in a country that has been criticized for events that put the freedom of press under risk. At the same time, it is an experience directed to young people from underprivileged communities.
Continue reading

The relic of Don Bosco will cross the former Khmer refugee camps this Thursday

Last November 17 a curious guest arrived by plane from Seoul to Bangkok and visited all the Don Bosco schools in the Southeast Asian kingdom where the Salesian educational community has been working for underprivileged children and youth since the 1930s. Continue reading

The Occheuteal Pedestrian Beach opens

Sihanoukville – A kilometer pedestrian beach along Occheutel is the new feature in town this month. Works to complete it began early year and now it changes the face of the most popular beach in town. Continue reading

Cambodia-US: Who Might Pays to Whom

The recent visit to Cambodia of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton brought out old ghost of the Cambodian history. We say ‘Cambodian history’, however, it belongs also to the US history in a very special way. The US Congress is enabling a new trade act for Cambodia under the code H.R. 5320. Now well, it happens that Congressmen Dana Rohrbacher and Bill Delahunt (find them in the collage I did with some prominent historical figures, down Lon Nol and at the side of Pol Pot) stated that ‘United States may not reduce or forgive any debt owed by Cambodia to the United States.’ (see csis.org.)  Continue reading

The ‘Anne Frank’ of Cambodia?

For months ago I find it most of the time published in any visible page of The Cambodia Daily, full color and that strain comparison: The Cambodian Anne Frank.Watching the movie of Rithy Panh or reading the book of Elizabeth Becker, Bophana, A Cambodian Tragedy, you understand that it is the making of a character. Continue reading

The Mother Teresa Film Festival in Cambodia

Phnom Penh. To close my Saturday evening I went to the Sorya Shopping Mall, that smart modern building just few meters at the south of the Central Market. The idea was to watch a movie. There was outside a music promotional concert and inside the mall plenty of fashion youth going up and down the escalators. I confess that there were not much attractive movies for me this time, but there was something out of common: the film of Mother Teresa. Continue reading

The prison of Siem Reap

I thought that the visit was going to be to a gloomy place. A prison is not properly the place you dream to be. However, countries must work to make it not a lovely place, but rather a real educational place. This morning I went with three teachers to visit the Siem Reap prison. Lichado promotes the idea that Don Bosco creates a technical program inside it as we have in the Sihanoukville’s prison. We got an appointment with the prison director at 8 AM. Going to the prison when most people are visiting the Angkorian temples is already very original in us. But we came to this country to open the way of hope for young people without hope. Continue reading

Authentic development is integral

The report of the UN Capital Development Fund’s author Nicola Crosta over Cambodian inequality is particularly important at this time when nations around the world are worry to adapt their economies to the financial global changes. Continue reading

Child Labor in Cambodia

The two persons of the photo are very popular on the Sihanoukville’s beaches, especially O’Cheteal. I tried to talk with the man, but he does not say much. He is a blind. Probably a former soldier. Probably he lost the eyes during the troublesome years of Cambodia. He sings and begs for money, especially to foreigners. He is guided by that little girl. I have been in Sihanoukville since 2006 and they have been around by then. The girls does not attend school. It is supposed that the man is her father. She picks cans, an activity that children of the streets do. They sell them and get some money. Continue reading