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Thursday, September 29, 2011

TPRF Aid to help build new wells, private food in Cambodia

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF) is contributing US$21,200 to assist efforts that will bring clean water and immediate food relief to more than 550 people in the Kampong Speu province of Cambodia, where malnutrition has long been a common contributing cause of death among children.

The funds will support a long-term effort by Cambodia's Sao Sary Foundation (SSF) to assist families in one of the nation's poorest districts, which sits west of Phnom Penh. In addition to building wells and distributing rice, the program calls for the provision of farm tools, seeds and training in agriculture and managing family finances.

"TPRF is pleased to be working with SSF," says TPRF President Linda Pascotto, "because they are approaching the problems of severe poverty in Cambodia on multiple levels, with the objective of producing self-sustaining communities. SSF has already demonstrated measurable success from their efforts."
In addition to constructing three wells and distributing 50-pound bags of rice to nearly 90 households, SSF will use TPRF funds to issue water filters, hand pumps, water containers and food for livestock. The program also includes distribution of farming-tool kits, seeds for home gardens, income-management guidance and training on intercropping to increase yields.

Vichetr Uon, SSF's executive director and founder, says that Sao Sary Foundation works in one of the three poorest provinces of Cambodia, a country in which 42% of the population lives in extreme poverty. In Kampong Speu, 57% of households live under a poverty line, identified by the nation's Ministry of Planning as living on less than US$1.25 per day. Vichetr Uon explains that most inhabitants of this area are forced to seek seasonal work in neighboring provinces, where workers are often exploited and sometimes not even paid for their work.

"Parents often force young daughters to work using forged documents saying they are of minimum working age for local factories," Uon says, "in order to provide financial support to their families."

Low annual rainfall and lack of sanitation are related problems in a nation still recovering from decades of civil war, economic stagnation and genocide.

Specific programs for the estimated 560 direct beneficiaries of TPRF's aid, also include teaching community development skills, household planning, budgeting, literacy, agricultural extension and group formation.

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