Phnom Penh (Fides Service) - For Lent 2005 Caritas Australia re-launched its Mercy Programme to guarantee food and water to farming villages in the Kompong Cham area of Cambodia. For the past three years Australia’s Caritas Office has worked to help these poor subsistence farmer families, many of whom have no access to water, to be self-supporting. The Caritas programme for development consists in providing clean water and grain and also training in better farming methods.
As a result of the programme many families live in more dignified conditions thanks to money earned by the sale of the products at the local market. The families now cultivate rice and different qualities of maize, as well as corn, sesame, soya, sweet potatoes, mangoes and fruit trees and this also guarantees them a richer and more balanced diet.
In three years no less than 63 local families have benefited from the Caritas Australia programme and their life has improved considerably. This area of Cambodia, for many years under strict control of the Khmer Rouge, is one of the regions with the most antipersonnel landmines still in place. In recent years various NGOs have been involved in de-mining the area to prevent accidents, death or serious mutilation, of which mainly children are the victims. (PA)( Agenzia Fides 18/2/ 2005 righe 22 parole 280)