The Cambodian Trust Pops By

Felix S., Britain

The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Club had a guest last month. Mike Scott, Country Director of The Cambodia Trust, an international NGO started in the UK for Cambodia, visited us. The Cambodia Trust was set up in 1989 by three British, in response to the Cambodian Prime Minister, Mr Hun Sen’s plea for assistance to the country’s thousands of landmine survivors.

After three decades of war, Cambodia is left with one of the highest rates of physical disability of any country in the world. More than 40,000 Cambodians have suffered amputations as a result to mine injuries since 1979.

The Cambodia Trust primarily helps these amputees with prosthetic limbs and rehabilitation, with donations they receive from around the world. To date, they have already helped some 5000 patients, with at least 50 to 60 patients coming in for treatment everyday for this free service.

Apart from this prosthetics service, The Cambodia Trust started the Cambodia School of Prosthetics and Orthotics in 1994, building the foundation for sustainable and locally-run rehabilitation services for people with disabilities. This fulfills the severe shortage of such services in developing countries, which is mostly provided for, by foreigners with the expertise. Over the last decade, 3 more schools were set up in Sri Lanka, Timor Leste and Jakarta.

As mobility is the first step towards self-sufficiency, an artificial limb, brace or wheelchair can make the difference between employment and begging on the streets. The rehabilitation scheme ensures a view of the larger picture by means of giving patients an improved way of life, over and above the physiotherapy services given to patients who have received new prosthetics. Some of these initiatives are: easy access for children with disabilities in schools, giving access to disabled young adults for skills training and giving out grants to disabled adults to establish small businesses.

In a country where the government’s support is limited and sometimes inconsistent, The Cambodia trust can only look to private organizations or willing individuals for help. Its funds were heavily depleted during the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, making its day-to-day operations a big problem.

The CSR Club of The NANYANG MBA has taken up this challenge and will work with The Cambodia Trust to introduce strategic ways forward to raise funds and create sustainable plans for it.

Mike Scott (3rd from left, front row) with The NANYANG MBA CSR Club members

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