Pol Saran, 47, a landmine survivor, currently lives in Svay Rieng province in the Southeast of Cambodia. Saran has five children; two daughters and three sons. Three of the children are attending school in their village and two of them have stopped going to school to work in Phnom Penh to help provide for the family.
Saran stepped on a landmine on June 15, 1975 while he was tending cows in a rice field about one kilometer away from his village of Chombok. After his injury, he was sent to Svay Rieng provincial hospital where his leg was amputated below the knee and he stayed there for two months for further treatments, afterwhich he was returned to his home village. After leaving the hospital, he was provided with two crutches, which he used for 7 years. In 1983, because of difficulties walking with the crutches, he made himself a prosthetic leg from found materials, but it did not fit him well.
On June 12, 2003, he heard about Veterans International/Cambodia (VIC) from the Provincial Office of Social Affairs. He first visited the Prey Veng clinic on June 23, 2003. VIC staff were then able to fit him with a below knee prosthesis which allowed him to work and go where he needed once again.
To help keep his children at school VIC provided Saran's children with school supplies and, on December 23, 2004, VIC provided him with tools and materials for handicraft work so he could generate higher income for his family. He now earns his living by making handicrafts and farming. He makes an average of 5,000 Riels (approximately $1.25) per day. In Cambodia, 35 percent of the population live below the national poverty line and make less than one dollar per day. Those with disabilities are often the poorest of the poor.
“ I am very happy with all the support I received from VIC, including the prosthesis, grants, and school supplies for my children,” said Saran, “ I would like to thank VIC and all the donors for all their support.”