USAID gives $5M for Khmer Rouge survivors' project

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US ambassador to Cambodia Patrick Murphy presents aid to Khmer Rouge survivors. DC-CAM

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided an additional $5 million grant to improve the health conditions of Khmer Rouge survivors through a project to be managed by the Documentation Centre of Cambodia (DC-Cam).

In a press statement on September 23, US ambassador to Cambodia Patrick Murphy said he was proud to support the project and that the US government has a long-standing commitment to promoting peace and national reconciliation through Khmer Rouge historical remembrance.

“The project will help provide access for Khmer Rouge survivors to health care and document health conditions and concerns, socio-economic conditions, and the experiences during the Khmer Rouge period,” he said.

The funding will cover field research on survivors' welfare conditions and translate the findings into public awareness campaigns. The project will see activities aimed at improving the health, welfare, and wellbeing of Khmer Rouge survivors throughout the country, the statement said.

DC-Cam executive director Youk Chhang lauded the project.

“The tragedy and injustice suffered by the Cambodian people under the Khmer Rouge regime was so great that nothing can truly replace or compensate them; however, this effort is one significant step forward in truly helping and supporting the survivors of genocide."

He said the project includes a 500-strong team of volunteers that will support local survivors in their field visits to community health clinics.

It gives youth an opportunity to demonstrate leadership and selfless service in support of Khmer Rouge survivors while providing them chances to share their story of struggle during the genocidal regime with the younger generations, he said.

“In short, the programme will highlight our shared humanity and reinforce the resilience of the Cambodian people,” he added.

According to the USAID's press statement, new action plans include the establishment of a limited fellowship programme for medical, mental health, public health, and nursing students. The plans will also see the set-up of DC-Cam-run volunteer services in support of survivors.