Seeking Help For Cambodia

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Philadelphia has a Cambodian population of about 10,000. It’s small by comparison to Cambodian enclaves in other cities, but unique in one way: Among its leadership are some working hard to draw attention to the fact their homeland remains a country ruled by a despot who has ruled for 30 years, Premier Hun Sen.

United under the banner of the Cambodian Human Rights Party, they are working to create a grassroots movement designed to reach out to Congress, the Obama Administration, national media and Americans everywhere of the need to bring pressure to end the dictatorial regime of Hun Sen.

Leading the effort here are Janet & Sarorn Seng and Holl Tray. Sarorn is president of the Human Rights Party’s Eastern Region and Tray is vice president. The three have one thing in common: they were war children who lived through the terrible times the world came to learn as the “killing fields” in Cambodia.

They were thrown out of their homes, pressed into child-labor camps and forced to scavenge for food. They were prevented from getting any kind of education. Today, the same scenario is still happening as the government ruthlessly evicts families from their generational homes, seizing their property for use by international investors.

Janet Seng and her husband Sarorn anguish bitterly over the fact generations of Cambodian children have been deprived of even elementary education.

They recently met with Congressman Bob Brady to address those concerns.

One of their goals is raising money to hire teachers in Cambodia who will set up private tutoring for some of those children. “Each $1,200 we raise will pay for one teacher for a year. Even if our efforts to unseat the dictatorship may be a long time away, we can begin to teach some of those children now.”

All the money they raise is sent to the Cambodian Human Rights Party, which was established in 2007 and is based in New York City.

While they hope to pressure the Cambodian dictatorship into conducting the upcoming “commune” elections in 2012 and 2013, they want to see educational opportunities spread throughout the country, despite the lack of concern shown by its government.

Cambodians in this country like them are volunteering to raise money for that effort.

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