My Sixth Times to Inaugurate SOS Children Village
… I am so please to join with all of you to inaugurate the SOS Kompot Children Village (SOS-KCV). This is my sixth time to put into official use this kind of orphanage after those in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Battambang, Ratanakiri … I am pleased with action jointly carried out since 1999 until present, which, according to the record provided by SOS, has taken a cost of over 26 million USD already. I am so proud that Cambodia has become one of them and I myself became a member of this organization for the first time in 2002. This is a special year. While inaugurating SOS-KCV, the President of SOS also brought his delegations from ASEAN countries to see and discuss the future of SOS with me. It is an honor that Cambodia hosted this very important meeting of SOS.
SOS – A Village and School Together
I would take this opportune moment to express my sincere thank for generous fellow for providing assistance through SOS to build this premises, which according to Mr. Siddhartha Kaul, amounted to over 1.7 million USD and will continue to cover expenses for next year. When they came to see me in office, I also presented the concept and idea relating to operational level starting from Cambodian or each member’s own effort. Having said all that, we should not overlook the international cooperation that SOS actively involves in the world. SOS is assisting and taking care of over 2.2 million children in the world. It is a big operation and there are many donors to its activity.
It is a habit where SOS is operating, there always is a college near to its centre. Just now, I heard the President of SOS raising about the need for a piece of land to build college. I think it is a coincidence. We have given and registered title of land for the Ministry of Social Affairs some 3.5 hectares here. There are still 2.5 hectares available. I may declare giving the land to SOS to build a college. SOS works not only with children whom they bring up under their care. Everywhere, in Phnom Penh, Battambang, Siem Reap, Ratanakiri and Kratie, they always have a school adjacent to their centers to provide chances for children and youth around the area to also take up study. It is lucky that we already had land in reservation. I would however find a plot of land if there were no such land available.
I am so glad that we have made further efforts from and yielded very good result. I also noticed efforts made by the Cambodian people themselves and assistance provided by international partners, in which SOS played very outstanding role. Today we inaugurate the center in Kompot and we will have a new project in Prey Veng. We also look to other provinces to follow suit. However, provinces that are interested in SOS assistance, they must have land in their reservation for building both the village and school.
Thanks SOS for Helping Cambodian Orphans
I am thankful that President Siddhartha Kaul mentioned about my past. It was true that though I had parents but I did not live with them and led a life like an orphan since when I was thirteen years old. I had to leave my parents and family to live with a Buddhist monk to hold on to a chance to continue my education. It was in that situation that brought me to a commitment that whenever I have the chance, I would build schools wherever necessary. I even issued a policy that there must be at least one junior secondary school in one commune and it has realized already. In some districts, we have up to six or seven junior secondary schools now.
It was to our luck that Mr. Siddhartha Kaul came to Cambodia in 1999. It is 17 years now. He must have noticed changes since then. We put an end to war in 1998 and started to develop our country right away. We still have many challenges, though. Orphans from the genocidal regime had become parents or even grandparents, but we still have children from parentless and poor families. They need our assistances. SOS has so far assisted some 1749 people already and hope that it will continue to face more challenges on the way.
I may share with President of SOS that two days after we inaugurated the SOS – Ratanakiri Children Village (SOS – RCV) in 2002, there was an unfortunate incident in the province of Steong Treng, where parents died leaving two children as orphans. After probing their condition, there was no other choice but to ask the social affairs department to bring them to the SOS – RCV for care. They found SOS – RCV as their new parents. I am so happy that we have a great achievement here and hope that generous fellows will continue to provide Cambodian orphans with assistance. I also hope that SOS will continue to be with us since Cambodia has become its member since 1999 and I am one of its members too. If there are any meetings in the future in Cambodia, they may send for me.
We also have to seek for means to reduce accidents from traffic, which is at the rate of killing six persons a day currently, resulting in many orphans. Traffic deaths have left orphans of fatherless, motherless, or without both. We also need to remove mines and UXOs, which killed or maimed many deteriorating situation of orphans. Infectious diseases of all kinds lead to worse orphan situation too.
Climate Change, Use Local Salt
Last night, I thought I was going to come and stay in Kompot. At about 1 am, HE Pen Siman sent me a telegram telling that there was a big rain. It was just a coincidence, there was nothing to do with me being present here. This year, climate has changed abruptly. When we expect it to be cold, it turns out to be hot and vice versa. As for rain, it is normal here along the seashore, March is time for some rain.
This year, our salt production would not be a problem. However, we have extra. We could not find a market for it. May I appeal to our people in the whole country to use local salt rather than those imported. We cannot prohibit import of salt in the free trade regime under the WTO treatment. However, salt locally produced is safer as it is not distracted from mountain. Our salt is made of seawater and we have iodized it too.
Just now HE Pen Siman accepted to cover the cost and travel of our teachers in training and their professors – 199 in all, to go visit Angkor Wat. There are 610 students from the medical school too who want to go. HE Pen Siman can take care of that too. Thank him. For other provinces, if they wish to send students to Angkor Wat, they have got to find a sponsor. Please do not refer to me. I am taking the responsibility some 600 or 700 teachers in training in the formula of bachelor + one year already to visit Angkor Wat. The big issue I advice here is that they must travel safely to and from./.