Country Profile: Cambodia
The country experienced political turmoil and mass genocide when Communist Khmer Rouge forces took over the capital city, Phnom Penh, in 1975. It is estimated that about 1.5 million Cambodians were executed or died from starvation or forced labour during the Khmer Rouge rule under Pol Pot. In 1978 Vietnam invaded the country, which led to nearly 13 years of civil war. Today, Cambodia hosts a multiparty democracy under a constitutional monarchy.
Cambodia relies heavily on its garment industry, which makes up more than 70% of the country’s exports. Another growing industry is tourism. Other industries include rice milling, fishing, lumber, rubber, cement, gem mining and textiles.
According to Operation World, 83,34% of the population is Buddhist. The past 20 years have seen unprecedented church growth in Cambodia, with 3,13% of the population Christian (1,6% Evangelical).
With 50% of the population under the age of 18, OM Cambodia focuses on church planting and programmes for children and youth. Since OM Cambodia started in 2006, 3 churches have been planted in the capital of Phnom Penh, Prek Svay village and the Takeo and Bathambang provinces, with 150 adults and 200 children attending services regularly.
The team currently consists of 15 local Khmer people and 5 international workers. International short-term teams also help run OM Cambodia’s Christian kindergarten, Sae Soon Children’s Home for 15 children affected by HIV and AIDS, and live-in youth centre. Computer and language classes (English and Korean) are also being offered.
OM Cambodia is also involved in translation work, including George Verwer’s books: ‘No Turning Back’ and ‘Out of the Comfort Zone’. Several Christian movies have also been translated.
Mercy Teams International (MTI) runs Project Freedom and a vocational training centre in Phnom Penh; and a community church, education centre and rural women’s sewing project in a village 2-hours north of the capital.
Project Freedom offers counselling and psychotherapeutic resources to child victims of sexual and physical abuse. Project Freedom also works to help prevent abuse through training and education in the community. Project Wings is a vocational training centre designed to give young people from very poor backgrounds the opportunity to learn a technical skill e.g. IT, mechanics, welding and metal work, electrical and plumbing skills, carpentry and building, and hairdressing and sewing.
An education centre was established for preschool-aged children, and as a result of the love and care of staff members, a community church has since emerged. A sewing project offers rural women alternative employment and their children a safe place during working hours. The income made from products sold are used for salaries and re-invested into the project.