In 1979 Oxfam leads a massive effort to get food aid to Cambodia after the fall of the Khmer Rouge. Following a special John Pilger report on Cambodia and a Blue Peter appeal, Oxfam raised over £3 million to help the millions going hungry after the fall of the Khmer Rouge's genocidal regime. This picture is the first substantial shipment of Western aid to Cambodia at Kompong Som in 1979. This first barge, the ‘Asiatic Success’, and those that followed, brought food, seeds, fertiliser, tools, equipment and vehicles financed by the Oxfam-led consortium of agencies. Photo: Jim Howard/Oxfam
Editorial: Pineeh Pinooh #2
On behalf of Oxfam, I would like to extend our best wishes to you and your family for 2019 and our warmest thanks for reading the first issue of Pineeh Pinooh and sharing with us encouraging and constructive feedback!
2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the end of the murderous Khmer Rouge regime that led to a tragic death toll, permanent wounds and deep trauma affecting millions of people in Cambodia. It also marks for Oxfam 40 years since its first humanitarian intervention in the country along with other international development agencies.
In 1979, Oxfam launched an appeal for £100,000 initially, that reached £3 million in three months “to feed Kampuchea.” Blue Peter, a popular British children’s television program, broadcast the fundraising campaign to its millions of young viewers. Reading a newspaper clipping about the campaign, I was so touched by a four-year-old girl who gave up her favorite plush toy, contributing the money from the sale to help feed hungry Cambodian children like me. Strangers so young who opened their hearts to us! I was one of those children that she never knew but wanted to help. My mother had to slave in the rice fields. My grandmother was feeding me a broth made with red ants instead of milk. When I started to work for Oxfam, I browsed through photos and film archives of those days to understand where I came from. I came across amazing pictures and footage that gave me mixed feelings as a Cambodian who grew up through that time. Cambodia has come a long way but she still has a long journey ahead to get to where she deserves.
When I spoke with many Oxfam colleagues, Cambodians and expats alike, who worked to support the country’s development from 1979 through the mid-80s, I was struck by a statement that rings so true today: Trust must be earned by all development stakeholders. Poverty is complex. True partnership and determination are required to eradicate poverty.
I hope 2019 will be a year of improved mutual understanding and meaningful partnership among all actors in the interest of Cambodia’s next generations.
Finally, we love to hear from you! Please send us your comments or opinion pieces to PineehPinooh.Cambodia@oxfam.org and the most inspiring ones will be published under our section Perspectives!
I hope you enjoy reading Pineeh Pinooh!
Best wishes and happy new year!