Among landmine fields
As a consequence of thirty years of war, 6 million unexploded landmines maim and kill thousands of Cambodians each year. There are more than 300,000 Khmer with disabilities.
On the edge of society
Disabled people in Cambodia are second-class citizens. Often shunned by their families, rarely hired by employers, and with little or no access to health facilities, many of these people literally die of hunger.
Without any support
Since the atrocity of the Khmer Rouge genocide, which decimated the population of Cambodia and destroyed its education, healthcare and economic systems, her people have struggled to overcome obstacles on the road to recovery.
KILT founder, Muy Seu Bel is a Cambodian landmine victim, who was given the opportunity to learn English and go to University.
In 2009 Bel and his young friends founded KILT – the Khemer Independant Life Team, now officially recognized NGO.
Despite Bel’s qualifications, the moment employers found out he was an amputee, Bel’s applications were turned down.
Pushed by his anger at the unfairness of this situation, Bel decided to join forces with others like himself, and put their skills to good use.
Money made from KILT’s various activities, and in particular from the sale of their stone jewellery, goes towards the KILT homestead, which currently gives shelter to 8 adults, of whom 6 are disabled, and 12 children.
Because Bel knows that the road to independence starts with education, he and his young wife Chanra have also decided to care for 12 children who come from families who cannot afford to feed their children, let alone send them to school.
Whether orphaned, abandoned due to their condition, or living with poverty-stricken families that simply lack the resources to properly care for them, the outlook for these children is bleak. It is not an uncommon sight to see such children begging on the city streets, their bent and broken bodies used as a source of income for others.
For those who have no mobility on their own, even when they are taken in by well meaning orphanages and shelters, their lives are limited to simply existing. With all of the problems facing Cambodia and her children, the resources, time and energy it takes to help handicap people and children reach their full potential simply do not exist.
Mission of the Khmer Independent Life Team
The aim of KILT is to end the cycle of poverty caused by landmines and disabilities and to provide jobs for people with disabilities, allowing them the opportunity to have access to the resources that they need in order to reach their full potential and their highest level of personal independence.