35 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
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.
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 provincial rehabilitation centres in Kampong Cham to ensure they provide quality 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, the organisation is training staff and improving the centres’ management systems. In Kampong Cham every year, more than 2.500 people with disabilities receive adapted rehabilitation services (including physiotherapy, counselling and assistive devices.
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, so as to reduce poverty and social exclusion in a sustainable way. The organisation promotes participation of every citizen, including vulnerable people in local governance.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, HI has continued to help the world’s most vulnerable people. We have adapted our interventions in more than 45 countries.
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 is still one of the world's poorest countries.
Nevertheless, 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.
Cambodia is also considered to be one of the countries with the largest number of mines in the world.
Number of HI staff members: 57
Date the programme opened: 1987