Three Great Events in a Row
My wife and I are so happy to be able to join with all of you here at Krousar Thmey to celebrate three events in a row – to put into official use new school for blind or deaf children in Phnom Penh, to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Krousar Thmey foundation and to celebrate the seventh Bon Prachum Nheat, which is the biennial “Family Festival” that brings together children supported by Krousar Thmey and all of the teams who work with the foundation. We also have a dining together.
I am so glad that over the past twenty years, Krousar Thmey has made, according to the report by its founder President Mr. Benoit Duchateau-Armainjon, so much progress and achievement. HE Ith Sam Heng, Minister of Social Affairs, has mentioned in his report about what has been done in relation to the establishment of the school for blind or deaf children in Phnom Penh. As is said by Mr. Benoit, in 1995 I went to one of its school for blind or deaf children at Chba Ampov, Phnom Penh. Standing on the river bank of the Mekong River, the school has been under threat of being washed off into the River Mekong for shoreline erosion.
It is in this state of development that Krousar Thmey has filed for help from the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Phnom Penh Municipality in moving the school to a safe place. As we can see now the school now stands on land that was before a part of ASPECA Orphanage. When we first build this facility, because of lack of infrastructure, this place seems to be far off but now it is like in the centre of the city. We have everything here – running water, electricity and others infrastructures. I am glad that I have come here for the second time, except for my wife this is her third visit to the place already.
Of course during my first visit, my wife and I noticed difficulties as this place was in middle of muddy area and our dining party was in the rainy season. Having seen that I have instructed the Municipality of Phnom Penh to build a raised foundation both for Krousar Thmey and for ASPECA Orphanage, and also so to put in place water ponds, drainage system, concrete paths and courts for volleyball and basketball. We have spent 560 million Riel for Krousar Thmey and 260 million Riel for ASPECA Orphanage.
This year Krousar Thmey organizes its Prochum Nheat (family reuion) here in Phnom Penh where their students and staff from Chba Ampov, Kompong Cham, SIemreap and Battambang will spend three days here together. My wife and I have contributed a sum of 33 million Riel for organizing a feast for them and eight thousand USD for the organization of their trips during the holidays. I urge all, as is said by Mr. Benoit, to exercise the art of sharing and taking up more responsibility whereas the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Social and Veteran Affairs should take a greater share of responsibility.
On this joyous occasion I would like to express my deepest thanks for the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports for, according to the report by the Minister HE Im Setthi, affiliating teachers of the Krousar Thmey School into that of the state teachers. We are also working out way to get these kids their tertiary education when and where possible. As they could always come back to work in the school when they finished their studies, we also give it a try to get them jobs in other places too.
We should anticipate the time when we no longer enjoy the sort of assistance that is kindly provided by Mr. Benoit so we have to take up a greater responsibility in sustaining what has been started and progressed so far. To get it organized and done is indeed a difficult task but to sustain it is requiring even more efforts. Mr. Benoit already said that this year the Krousar Thmey’s expense have been brought to some 1.5 million USD. The load of responsibility is increasingly bigger and concerned Government institutions must foresee their shares and getting ready when such financial assistance ceases to be available.
We should start from the Ministry of Social Affairs itself. I am so glad to see that a girl with blindness in both of her eyes could read with her fingers and translate texts as correct as people with eyesight. Some TV Channels, like Bayon TV, except in live broadcast also have people who apply gesture language for deaf audience. Our situation has now changed. Not only people with good eyesight and better hearing, but those in the opposite are also not left in the dark. Again I am calling for more helps and contributions from relevant state and charitable institutions.
Mr. Benoit just mentioned during the twentieth anniversary of Krousar Thmey that he is going to place a commitment of another ten years with new capability and future when I am sure that by then more of our students from the school would graduate and find jobs.
I have a feeling that for the poor, the disabled, and orphans in our country must be well taken care of and the idea has always been there in my life. My wife and I, though we have been raised to a high place but we all are not cut off from simple lifestyle, in which support for the poor, the disabled and orphans is something that cannot be removed from my life.
I was separated from my family when I was 13 years old to go for study and stay in the pagoda. That was not a bad life after all as these boys who have been taken into the house of Buddha are lucky to be instructed with moral conduct and provided with education. That was a life that was closely linked with hardships and similar condition companionship.
I then started my life as soldier where I feel great that I never for once live far away from the people. I then suffered loss of my physical capacity. It was lucky that one of my eyes could be saved. What would happen to me if I lost both and, remember, at the time we did not have Krousar Thmey to help provide this assistance? After January 7 victory, I have been proud to provide shelters and foods for orphans.
People in marginalized condition vary accordingly but the disabled are the ones that deserve thorough care. As long as I am in this position, I would not hesitate to do the best I can to provide help. This has been clearly stated in the Cambodian People’s Party and also the Royal Government’s political platform. My direct leadership over the past 26 years has assured our understanding and commitment to deal with the issue.
Some people have brought up this issue again about setting term for those in power and I wish to respond to them that as long as the people vote for me I will go on working for them and if I no longer receive our people’s support, I will stand ready to transfer power to anyone to succeed and I will relentlessly offer my support to the new Government. But first they have to win the hearts and minds of the people.
People have given me the mandate till 2013 and the Cambodian People’s Party has proposed and supported my candidate for the Prime Minister for the period after 2013. To vote for Cambodian People’s Party is to vote for Hun Sen to become Prime Minister or if people want Hun Sen to be Prime Minister, they have to vote for the Cambodian People’s Party.
Through Mr. Benoit, I would like to convey my sincere thanks and wholehearted appreciation to charitable beings who have provided financial contributions for the construction of this school, to raise some 400 staff and over one thousand students. I also like to thank my dear wife to provide from the cash of the Cambodian Red Cross some 20 million Riel per annum and from me, I provide every month one ton of rice and three million Riel. Now HE Mak Pich Rith, the Royal Government delegate in charge of CAMCONTROL (Cambodia Import-Export Inspection and Fraud Repression Directorate-General) will help cover the cost of electricity bill between 730,000 to 800,000 Riel and he also will do the same for ASPECA Orphanage.
I would convince our students here and all over the country that you are physically handicapped but I am sure you all are not mentally disable. We have to make more efforts to encourage the handicapped to gain confidence in their mental ability and chance. Let me affirm to you that Hun Sen is a man with a loss of one eye but Hun Sen is not heartbroken. With one eye still I can see very far and in some case maybe farther than those with two eyes. I wish that people living around the school as well as those working to provide them services exercise high patience, give them love and help these kids. Let me assure you that there is no such alms that would bring us more merit than helping the poor and the disabled./.