For 2000 years prior to French colonization, the Angkor Empire expanded with temples, roads, irrigation systems and reservoirs. In 1861, Angkor Wat (one of the Seven Wonders of the World) was rediscovered with the French occupation of “The Land of Smiles”, and the wealth and pride of this nation was drained.
During the Vietnam War – and largely unknown to Americans – the U.S. dropped more bombs on a neutral Cambodia than we dropped in all of World War II. With U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam, the Khmer Rouge took control of the country, killing most of the educated people – 50% of the population perished. Families were destroyed, famine ensued, and literacy rates plummeted.
While the gracious people of Cambodia are resilient, their nation has not recovered. Poverty is profound, maternal and newborn deaths are rampant, there is no national educational system, very little clean water, and the selling of children for as little as $50 is not uncommon.
In the words of a Cambodian (Khmi) woman, “We didn’t just lose our country, we lost our souls. In not long, those of us who remember what it meant to be Khmi in the true Kingdom of Kambuja will be gone. Please help us be proud again.”
Perhaps in no country is the need greater for the strength, compassion and voices of our Youthlinc humanitarians.
We invite you to join hands with us as we enter the magical and broken Kingdom of Cambodia.
Please rsvp by November 7 for our Cambodia Benefit, Saturday, November 13 5:30pm at Bangkok Classic, 850 S. State, SLC $30 per person for dinner and a brief program about our new site.