Friday, August 27, 2010

Andong in the news!

Those who are reading my blog regularly, or seeing my numerous facebook statuses, would have already heard of New Andong Village. If you haven't read it, please read the blog post called ''Andong''.

Today Andong was in the Phnom Penh Post, the English speaking newspaper that some people from Andong village scrape a living selling copies of near the airport.

Please read this article:

For those who can't be bothered, it says that all of the hard work done at a grassroots level to create livable homes in this community is going to be torn down, so that the government can build new houses (the same size and design) to sell back to the families at a cost unaffordable to most, trapping them in a debt cycle or forcing them into homelessness.

I feel a deep connection to the community and their struggles. Leigh and I have been fortunate enough to witness the ongoing grassroots construction efforts happening in the community. To read this news today was devastating for us, but whats makes it worse is how powerless we feel.

It is clear what the community want, and they have worked hard to improve their lives after the government forced them to relocate in 2006. Why is the government not listening to their people? Is this yet another attempt to reclaim their land? Unfortunately, I suspect it won't be long until the land title awarded to these people are actively revoked by the Cambodian Government, once again relocating them into a situation of desperate poverty and alienation from educational and employment opportunities.

I hope to visit the community one more time before I leave, because Andong will always have a piece of my heart.

There may be dark days ahead for Andong.

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