The Lutheran World Federation Endowment Fund ensures that the agency's work in Cambodia continues. To give to the endowment, contact the ELCA Foundation at 800-638-3522, ext. 2970. Send checks payable to the ELCA (write "LWF Endowment" on the memo line) to: ELCA Foundation , 8765 W. Higgins Rd., Chicago, IL 60631.
Land mines were first laid in the 1960s when Cambodia entered the Indochina War, according to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. During the Democratic Kampuchea regime (1975-1979), Khmer Rouge troops used the mines for military and civilian control. Their use grew during the civil war that followed the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge, continuing into the 1990s.
The 1993 democratic elections ushered in a period of relative normalcy. Many refugees and internally displaced people began returning to reclaim their former land—where mines could be set off by anything from a gardening tool to the footfall of a child.
In 1999, when Cambodia ratified the international Mine Ban Treaty, it agreed to clear all antipersonnel mines from areas under its control, no later than Jan. 1, 2010. By 2012 the government’s goal is to make all of Cambodia free from the impact of mines and unexploded ordnance. Since many mined areas are not fenced-off or marked, it remains a painstaking process.
Morm Saveurn, 46, his wife, Mou Ly Viseth, and their six children live in Kam Prong, a remote village in northwest Cambodia’s Battambang Province. Saveurn and Viseth (both former soldiers) left the capital, Phnom Penh, and returned home a little more than 10 years ago. Saveurn still works part time as a soldier (10 days a month) but also depends on farming for the family’s income.
|Thanks to Lutheran support for clearing land mines in Thmey, Kampong Speu Province, Cambodia, Khan Trang (right) and her husband, Yoy Yon (left), safely grow vegetables to sell at market and feed their five children.|
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