The Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam), in collaboration with the US Agency for International Development (USAID), has released an update on its ongoing efforts to support Khmer Rouge genocide survivors through the Cambodia Genocide Research and Education Project. 

The supplemental programme, titled "Advancing the Rights and Improving Conditions of Khmer Rouge Genocide Survivors", continues to make significant progress in providing access to essential health and social services.

DC-Cam executive director Youk Chhang emphasised the importance of these initiatives.

"Our mission is to ensure that the survivors of the Khmer Rouge genocide receive the health and social services they need to live with dignity and wellbeing. 

“The extensive volunteer network, partnerships with clinics and comprehensive data collection are all part of our commitment to supporting these resilient individuals," he said. 

CamboCorps is a youth-focused programme designed to engage young people in community service, leadership development and skills training. DC-Cam

Survivor population and stories collection

The 2017 demographic map revealed that there were 5,143,386 Khmer Rouge genocide survivors, representing 33.16 per cent of Cambodia's total population, spread across 196 districts. 

The majority of these survivors live in rural areas, highlighting the need for tailored services to meet their specific needs. 

Provinces with the highest survivor populations include Kampong Cham and Prey Veng, while provinces like Mondulkiri and Ratanakkiri have the lowest numbers. This demographic insight is crucial for planning and implementing effective interventions.

The programme has also made significant strides in preserving the history and experiences of survivors. 

Khmer Rouge genocide survivor population map. DC-Cam

“The CamboCorps initiative has collected a remarkable 61,625 stories from survivors, documented in both digital and written formats,” said Chhang. 

The maps show that the highest numbers of collected stories come from provinces such as Battambang and Kampong Cham. 

These stories are invaluable for understanding the long-term impacts of the genocide and ensuring that the voices of survivors are heard and remembered.

Health Screening and Public Health Education

Another important element of the programme is medical assessment and public health education. Since its inception, a total of 8,419 survivors have benefited from these services. 

Specifically, 5,443 have participated in health screenings, while 2,976 have attended public health education forums. 

Map of the distribution of health screening and public health education forums for Khmer Rouge genocide survivors. DC-Cam

According to the maps, the programme has partnered with 68 clinics and supports 2,272 private clinics nationwide, facilitating widespread medical assistance to those in need.

Provinces such as Kampong Cham and Siem Reap have the highest participation rates, whereas Mondulkiri and Ratanakkiri have lower engagement levels.

A comprehensive health analysis shows that the top 10 diseases affecting Khmer Rouge survivors include high blood pressure, gastroenterological issues and malaria, according to the book “Information on Healthcare for Khmer Rouge Survivors” published by DC-Cam in 2023. 

Other prevalent conditions include mental illnesses, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, chronic asthma, tuberculosis and epilepsy. 

This data underscores the critical need for targeted medical interventions and ongoing health education initiatives to address these challenges.

CamboCorps initiative

A major component of the programme is the CamboCorps initiative, which has mobilised 4,156 volunteers across Cambodia. 

According to one of the maps, 3,464 of these have been actively selected for service between 2020 and 2024.

Distribution map of CamboCorps volunteers. DC-Cam

The initiative's extensive reach is visually represented in the newly released map, showing blue markers scattered across the country.

CamboCorps is a youth-focused programme designed to engage young people in community service, leadership development and practical skills training to help them in their future careers. 

It often involves various activities such as volunteering, workshops and training sessions that focus on personal and professional growth, community development and social impact.

Notably, the provinces of Kampong Cham and Battambang show the highest concentration of volunteers, while Mondulkiri and Kampong Thom have the lowest. 

These volunteers are on the ground, offering critical support to survivors, ensuring they receive necessary health screenings and public health education.