Thirty years of saving lives – but still more to do.
In 1991, as Cambodia was emerging from a decades-long civil war, Prince Sihanouk of Cambodia called for a ban on landmines. The risk posed by landmines was taking an unacceptable toll on communities already shattered by conflict and genocide.
MAG began its operations in Cambodia in October 1992 and kickstarted a campaign to rid the world of landmines which culminated in the signing of the Mine Ban Treaty in snowy Ottawa five years later. But the success story of the Mine Ban Treaty – and the progress made here in Cambodia – must not blind us to the challenges that remain.
In the stories below, people in Cambodia describe how cleared land has changed their lives, highlighting the vital need to return safe land back to the 60 million people in the world who remain threatened by explosive remnants of conflict.
For their sake and the sake of their communities, it’s time to say that enough is enough.
MAG America Executive Director
Education and healthcare built on a foundation of safe land
Clearing unexploded bombs and landmines is about so much more than just safe land – it’s about enabling people to live, develop, and thrive in the communities they call home. Over the 30 years MAG has been working in Cambodia, numerous communities have transformed on newly safe land.
Lung Khung village had a pressing need for school facilities. At times, school for younger children took place outside under a tree while older children – and their teachers – had to walk 12 miles to school.
Leu Pry, a teacher at Lung Khung school, said, “We put a plan together and identified a location. MAG cleared the area in March 2021, and we started building in April.”
Thanks to your support, 144 children now come to school here. The school building is only large enough to accommodate the children aged 11 to 13 – and it’s filling up fast. The community need to provide facilities for other age groups, but that requires more safe land. Many more villages need basic facilities, like the Lung Khung school, but are unable to build them because they lack safe land. Because of supporters like you, MAG is better able to fulfill this crucial need.
Phnum Rai – a village transformed
In 2019 Phnum Rai was home to only a small number of people.
Many families owned land in the village that they were afraid to use and so they lived elsewhere. Some homes were in the middle of minefields. Every day was filled with worry and danger.
In 2022 things are very different.
MAG teams of deminers have been working in Phnum Rai and the impact of this work is clear to see. Now more than 70 families live there and the village is serviced by a mobile shop and has a local café.
When we met Nang in 2019, the area around her home hadn’t been cleared of landmines. “I don’t know where the landmines are. I have always been afraid for my four children,” said Nang.
Now in 2022, Nang's home is built on land cleared by MAG and she can safely farm her land and support her family.
“My baby was born on the cleared minefield. I’m very happy MAG has cleared here. Safety is most important. Now the children can run around."