|Project Name:||Angkor Association for the Disabled|
|People Needed:||1-3 people|
|Required Skills:||IT, Fund-raising, Project planning, Engineering, English teaching, Small business start-up|
|Costs:||Food & accommodation. Basic hotel room approx. $2/night|
|Contact Person:||Sem Sovantha (founder)|
|Phone:||(855) 12 690 934 or 063 761 175|
Experience Report by a former Volunteer
The story of Angkor Association for the Disabled (AAD)
How and why did AAD start?
Sem Sovantha is a disabled veteran who lost both his legs to a landmine in 1990, while serving as a captain in the Cambodian army.
His government pension of 50 cents a day was not enough to live on. He didn't have the skills necessary for employment, so he was forced into begging. It was a very hard life, but he didn't lose hope. Through amazing determination, he put himself through school, then found a job with a non-government organisation (NGO), helping other disabled people in Cambodia.
In 2002, this NGO ran out of funding and closed. Once again, Sovantha didn't lose hope. Instead, he began helping the disabled of Cambodia on his own. Sem Sovantha knows what it is to escape from poverty and begging. It is with this in mind that he founded Angkor Association for the Disabled (AAD), based in Siem Reap, the town adjoining the world-famous tourist destination of Angkor Wat and the other Angkorian temples. In Feb 2004, AAD was registered as an NGO in Cambodia.
Sem Sovantha is a very rare exception. The majority of disabled beggars get trapped in a life of begging. They lose hope. Begging strips away their dignity. They fall into a state of despair. They have goals but struggle to move towards them without outside assistance. It is hard to think long-term when all day, every day, is spent begging for daily rice. AAD works to break them out of this cycle. Its mission is to give these people the hope and the help they need so they can change their lives.
What does AAD do?
*Housing for AAD members in transition from a life begging on the streets, until they are able to move into homes of their own
*Support and training in the establishment of micro-businesses or other sustainable income-generating activities
*AAD also works to overcome discrimination against the disabled, striving to get its members jobs in the hotels and restaurants that service the thriving tourist destination of Siem Reap.
You can now see various AAD projects around the town of Siem Reap. In addition to AAD's visible profile, there are other activities behind the scenes for which we need your help.