Monday, December 20, 2010

It has been a busy year in Cambodia and we want to thank all of you for your tremendous help in making it as successful as it has been.

As you may know, our NGO (non-governmental organization) is the only all-Khmer demining NGO in Cambodia completely funded by volunteer donations. When we began this journey, in 2008, we wondered if we could have the impact we wanted.

We are. And it has happened only because YOU have made it so.

In 2010:

■we cleared 7 villages
■we built and support 2 village schools and pay the teacher monthly
■we removed 153 mines and UXOs
■we put 4,695 people back on land that had been killing them
We began the year with 15 deminers.

We ended the year with a team of 25. Twenty-five dedicated men and women who work 25days of every month making Cambodia safe for its people. Khmers working for Khmers.

We work in what we define as 'low priority' villages. These are villages with mine fields 1 - 10 hectares in size, who have suffered death and dismemberment from these fields for years. But because they are small fields, they have not yet reached 'the top of the list'.

These are the places we work. These are the people you are saving.

We judge our success not on how many mines we can clear, but on how many people we can effect, how many lives we can change, and how many villages are now more self sufficient than they were before CSHD arrived.

If villagers are afraid to use a field because it is killing them, it matters not if that field has 1 mine left, or is infested with 1,000 mines. That land is not being used. Most of this country is rural. Most of the population are farmers. Without usable land, they cannot feed their families, and must rely on the charity of other nations to survive.

CSHD, through YOU, is changing this nation!

Our budget runs around $9,000 per month. We pay our deminers $150 - $250 per month. The average income in Cambodia is just over $40 per month. Our second largest expense is fuel. Third is food and fourth is medical expense. If someone gets ill, they are cared for, and the cost is absorbed by CSHD. Malaria, dengue fever, and snakes are some of the every day threats we face. All our deminers are provided with anti-malarial medication daily. Later this month all will receive flu shots. We have a full time medic on site at all times.

Equipment, replacement costs for obsolete and broken equipment, and maintenance vary by month depending on what breaks and how bad the access roads to the villages we clear.

Your donations have kept us in the field. Without you - people die, and that is NO exaggeration.

Earlier this year Aki Ra was chosen by CNN as one of the 10 CNN Heroes of 2010. 10,000 were nominated from over 100 countries. This honor has helped greatly in raising our profile. Many of you receiving this email heard about Aki Ra's work from CNN. If you didn't see the show, it will be re-broadcast on Christmas Day in the US and Europe and Christmas Eve in Asia. Check your local listings for the time.

As the end of the year is approaching, our friends in America can make a final tax free donation to our sister charity in the US, the Landmine Relief Fund. Just click on the PayPal button.

Many of our friends have made donations to our work in lieu of Holiday gifts this year. If you would like to make a donation in some ones honor, let us know and we will acknowledge it to your friends.

And please...NO donation is too small. Together, we can all make a difference. You can be part of the solution to a huge problem. And all you have to do is take that 'one small step'.

Thank you all for your continuing support.

Bill Morse

Aki Ra

'No man is an island...any man's death diminishes me for I am involved in mankind. Therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls...It tolls for thee.' John Donne

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