Ou Sralao Lech Primary School Stoked Kobra | Page 4

Why Cambodia?

Since its independence from the French colonial powers in 1953, Cambodia has been subjected to many years of exploitation by successive regimes that had gained and lost their powers. In 1975, the already fragile social fabric of Cambodia was dealt its final blow when they came under the cruel regime of the Khmer Rouge.

In the short four years that the Khmer Rouge were in power, Cambodia was systematically and thoroughly destroyed. Subjected to genocide and the extreme violation of their rights, at least 1.5 million Cambodians died during the Khmer Rouge regime. They were forcefully evicted from their homes and separated from their families. Unfortunately, the thirteen years of civil unrest which followed cemented the future of Cambodians. They continued to suffer from long periods of starvation, forced labour, and extreme hardship.

The two difficult decades under the Khmer Rouge and the civil war caused tremendous disruption to the communities’ development and progress. Many children were denied the opportunity to receive a proper education. Cambodia has become one of the poorest and least developed countries in South-East Asia, with low adult literacy and high drop-out and repetition rates in primary and secondary schools.