Land mines are an evil legacy of past wars. At a conflict´s end millions of landmines and unexploded ordinances (UXOs) are left behind by retreating armies. Most of these deadly booby traps are to be found in the fields and forests of poorer communities who live close to old battle zones. According to UNICEF there are more than 115 million landmines scattered in 68 countries. An estimated 2.5 million new mines are laid each year. The result is that today women, children and every day farmers are having their limbs blown off or are being killed by landmines as they go about their daily routines.
One country that has been vastly effected by the scourge of Landmines is Cambodia. The World Health Organization makes this comment about public health in Cambodia; a major factor affecting the well-being of women and children is physical disabilities resulting from land-mine-related accidents. An estimated 4.2/1000 persons are amputees resulting from a land-mine explosion. In the under-15 age group, 21% of disabilities are due to land-mine accidents. One out of every 245 people in Cambodia is an amputee due to landmine injuries.
Victims of landmines find it hard to find work thus making it hard for them to provide for themselves or their families. Many landmine victims are left destitute because of the injuries they have sustained and are reduced to begging or working in the illegal drug and sex industries. The predominant Buddhist world view that dominates Cambodia sees land mine injuries as the result of sins in a former life. Therefore few people intervene to help victims of landmines in case they are interfering with the laws of Karma.
Cambodian Harvest is a ministry of Australian Mercy that is reaching out to landmine victims in Cambodia and wants to help them to live fruitful and productive lives. Project Director Marion Fromm is setting up a fruit processing factory in Cambodia that will employ landmine victims. The factory will manufacture dried fruit treats for commercial sale. Profits from the sales of these fruit slabs will pay for education and other health services that are currently unavailable to land mine victims.
Marion is hoping that the fruit factory will serve as a model that can be replicated in other nations that have similar problems. It is hoped that within a few years this entire project will be run by landmine victims.
The Cambodian Harvest project was launched in Cambodia on April 28th 2004.
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Further information about Reverse the Curse can be found at the website.
2 Wentworth St (PO Box 132)
Port Kembla, NSW, 2505, Australia
Ph: 02 4274 1090
Fax: 02 4274 9909
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ACN 008 643 258
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