Actionaid – Library Initiative
Preah Vihear Province is a Northern Cambodian village that traditionally relies on rice farming, fishing, and forest produce for their livelihood. The village attracts tourists to its temples, however, the revenue from forest products and tourism is controlled by a few powerful individuals and private companies. International companies are also buying the land there for its precious metals and the village itself is getting poorer. For the people of Preah Vihear, there are low, 33% literacy rates. Also, water is collected in ponds during the six-month rainy season but doesn’t last the six-month dry season. This leaves children with the dangerous task of fetching unclean water from streams, rivers and wells leading to severe diarrhoea. Other common illnesses include malaria, typhoid, dengue fever and eye infections. The nearest health care centre is 20km away so families tend to rely on untrained local practitioners.
Actionaid work in partnership with local organisation, Human Resource Development for Community Sustainability (HRDCSO) to these issues in Preah Vihear. The overall goal is to improve access to land, natural resources, livelihoods, food, water, education and healthcare. Actionaid is a charity committed to ending poverty by addressing hunger, access to education, eliminating unfair economic issues that contribute to poverty, helping in emergency conflict areas, and improving women’s rights and the lives of disadvantaged girls.
From 2010 – 2013, according to news sent from Actionaid, I contributed principally to the educational aspects of the village, including the building of 5 small libraries, books for 500 children in the village, study materials to 16 villages surrounding the area, and training for improved agricultural techniques to 64 new farmers, and teacher training for 28 teachers in primary schools in Preah Vihear. These projects were some of my early starts in philanthropy and that I hope to carry on in the future.
photos courtesy of Actionaid